Campus groups look to get share of Coca-Cola funding

Student organizations can now compete for a piece of $42,000 in funding following the recent signing of the Coke contract.

Although the contract has been in effect since May 16, 2007, Chief Financial Officer Sherideen Stoll just signed the 76-page Coca-Cola contract in late September, officially making the University a Coke school for at least seven years.

Coke has agreed to pay more than $2.5 million to the University in sponsorship fees, granting $340,000 for pouring rights, campus, educational and athletic initiatives on or before May 15, 2008, and will pay an additional 2.5 percent on top of that each succeeding year until 2014.

The president and his special group of cabinet members determined how much money would be granted to each division of campus and allocated $50,000 to the Student Budget Committee to distribute, which is $11,500 more than under the Pepsi contract.

The SBC decided $3,000 would go to University departments and $5,000 would go into a “rainy day” fund, leaving the remaining $42,000 up for grabs among the 300-plus student organizations.

The $42,000 is spot funding, which means when student organizations need extra money for a special function or project, they can apply to the SBC for up to $1,000 per semester in funding. The SBC determines what amount is given.

“I encourage every student organization to apply,” said Jeremy Lehman, junior and USG Senator.

He said student organizations should know about this opportunity from meeting with the Office of Campus Activities, so they need to take advantage.

Lehman said he wants students to know that he, along with USG President Johnnie Lewis, fought for student organizations and not for USG.

The Pouring Rights Committee felt it was time for a change to Coke after Pepsi’s contract was up in May.

Lehman said the Coke contract is obviously better because it offers more money and different options. He said Coke’s presentation was also better and that Coke is more willing to help out with athletics than Pepsi was.

“We’re getting more than a million over seven years more than Pepsi, ” said Bill Wheelock, director of purchasing. “Every dollar coming in doesn’t have to come from the pockets of students and parents,” he said.

The contract was recently signed after many months of negotiating between Coca-Cola Enterprises Bottling Company and the University’s Pouring Rights Committee.

Stoll, who signs all University contracts as the contracting authority, knows that a contract has to go through extensive legal work on both sides of a deal.

Also, when a committee is involved, such as the Pouring Rights Committee, it automatically adds more time into coordinating a contract because of conflicting schedules.

The contract was exactly what Coke and the people at the University had worked out, said Wheelock, who worked on the Pouring Rights Committee to make sure the contract was completed legally according to the appropriate terms and conditions.