Monday, May 19, 2003

Off Target 

Here's an interesting story: We had the chance to have a hip Tarzhay vending machine in the student union. But it was voted down despite a $5000 payment offered.
"There's so much corporatization going around, they wanted to keep the student union a safe place, so to speak," said Kim Haiman, a St. Cloud State graduate student and president of the Atwood Memorial Center Council, which voted 3-2 (with one abstention) late last month to keep its space Target-free. [Note: Ms. Haiman herself voted for the machine.] ...
This isn't unusual, according to our local campus paper.
"Historically, the council has been concerned about the commercialization of our building," said Assistant Director of the AMC Edward Bouffard. "We were concerned about selling our souls to the corporate world for money."
The director concurs in the PioneerPress article, but the student notes that commercialization has already occured.

"We've been down that road before," said Margaret Vos, the student union's director. "We've turned down other businesses," including a company that slapped bathroom billboards inside the stalls.

"After two months, we pulled them out," said Vos, adding she's not surprised by anything anymore. "We had so many complaints from students saying, 'I can't even go to the bathroom anymore without being bombarded.'"

Don't think, however, that the 13,175-student school is totally anti-corporate. "We're a Pepsi campus," said Haiman about the vending machines already on campus.

Now I for one view time spent in the bathroom as "down time", and some information to occupy my eyes while other parts of me are 'engaged' is pretty welcome. But perhaps some of our students get "stage fright".

But this is a Pepsi campus -- because Pepsi pays a helluva lot more than $5000. We are not a safe space for Coca-Cola. The only place you can buy Coke on this campus is one store in the student union -- and that one is closed this summer for renovations.