BREAKING: University announces partnership with Pepsi as official beverage provider

Five-year deal includes Pepsi products on-campus and event sponsorships

BREAKING: University announces partnership with Pepsi as official beverage provider

The Mary Graydon Center, pictured in 2016. 

American University announced Pepsi as its official beverage provider as part of a five-year partnership with the company, according to a Friday email sent to the University community.

Pepsi already partners with more than 800 universities, colleges and community colleges nationwide, according to Friday’s email. 

“Pepsi comes to AU with experience in providing world-class service as well as a firm understanding of the priorities, interests, and changing tastes of university students,” Laura McAndrew, associate vice president of finance and assistant treasurer, and Ann Marie Powell, senior director of dining and auxiliary services, wrote in the email.

The decision to enter into this agreement with Pepsi was made by members of AU’s Campus Life, Athletics and Auxiliary Services offices. The email cites Pepsi’s “corporate values and priorities” as a major consideration in their choice, noting initiatives like the company’s $400 million dollar allotment to support racial equality efforts over the next five years. 

Previously, the University had a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola, according to the AU Athletics list of corporate sponsors. The partnership with Coca-Cola faced criticism from members of the AU community in both 2009 and 2013 after multiple instances of student opposition to the company. 

Pepsi products will be featured in vending machines on campus, soda machines in TDR and other campus retail locations, sporting events and athletic centers starting in the fall semester. Special sponsored activities and events for the AU community, students and student-athletes are also “in the works,” according to the email.

As part of the partnership, incoming freshmen will receive special cans of Pepsi’s Bubly soda in their Welcome Week kits and sporting events at Bender Arena will include Mountain Dew branded opportunities, according to the email. In October, Bubly will also host a series of Score For the Cure events at women’s soccer games to celebrate breast cancer awareness month, making a donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation for every goal scored. In addition, Pepsi will be sponsoring a “Block Party” for graduating seniors in May 2022. 

Pepsi’s sustainability goals are also mentioned as a contributing factor to the decision, including its plan to make 100 percent or their packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.

“Pepsi’s proven leadership in diversity and engagement, commitment to racial equality, philanthropic work with the local Washington, DC community, and commitment to sustainability all make them an ideal corporate partner for AU,” the email said.

nheller@theeagleonline.com and kcorliss@theeagleonline.com 

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