CUNY’s contract with PepsiCo endangers student health



CUNY should not renew its Pouring Rights Contract with PepsiCo Inc. As an academic institution, it is responsible for promoting healthy behavior among its students and faculty. 

The contract will pay CUNY $21 million in exchange for granting PepsiCo exclusive rights to advertise and sell its products to all 25 CUNY campuses. But this comes at a great cost to CUNY’s student population. 

Sugary drinks tend to be cheaper than their healthier counterparts, making them a more popular choice among college students. Sugary drinks also tend to be more readily accessible via vending machines and outdoor food carts. 

CUNY can encourage its students to make more sustainable lifestyle choices by partnering with a different company and making healthier drink options more accessible and potentially more affordable. 

Consumption of sugary beverages can impact one’s brain health and sleep quality, both of which are essential to students’ academic performance. CUNY’s continuation of its contract with PepsiCo neglects the health of its student body and their education. 

Once a student leaves their school campus, there is not much that CUNY can do to influence their decisions. This makes it crucial for CUNY to do whatever it can to promote healthier options to students while they are on campus. 

Although the contract will financially benefit CUNY, any future negative impacts on student well-being will ultimately outweigh the short-term monetary benefits. 

CUNY Campaign for Healthy Food has suggested multiple guidelines that will promote a healthier CUNY, including price incentives for low-calorie beverages and smaller portion sizes for non-water beverages. These seem a much more noble pursuit than CUNY’s current engagement with PepsiCo. 

CUNY should take into consideration the thoughts of students, faculty and staff before making the decision to continue endorsing PepsiCo as they will ultimately face the consequences of this contract.