UCorp to strike a deal with beverage vendor

A student fills up his soda at the SF State campus Subway, located in the village Tuesday, May 12. University Corporation is seeking a beverage company to partner with to retain pouring rights on campus. (Helen Tinna / Xpress)

The campus community may soon experience a homogenizing of beverages available at SF State if University Corporation strikes a deal with an official beverage vendor in the coming months.

The partnership for pouring rights, as articulated in a Request For Proposals issued by UCorp, would grant one beverage company exclusive selling, advertising and promotional efforts on SF State campus for eight to 10 years.

The selected official beverage provider will also have the opportunity to name the athletic complex for 10 years and establish a corporate-endowed chair in the college of its choice, according to the RFP. In exchange, the partner will provide a one-time contribution anticipated at a minimum of $2 million and a yearly contribution of at least $125,000.

Contract negotiations will be made once proposals are submitted, according to UCorp Executive Director Jason Porth, who said the campus will be consulted during the process.

“Ultimately it will be UCorp that executes the contract, but we would only do so if there is campus support for doing so,” Porth said. “We would certainly consult with various parties on campus including Associated Students and other groups on campus to make sure that everyone felt comfortable with this.”

Real Food Challenge President Rosie Linares sits on the Vender Service Advisory Assembly and said she does not think the campus community has been made aware of the deal or has had the chance to weigh in thus far.

A student fills up his soda at the SF State campus Subway, located in the village Tuesday, May 12. University Corporation is seeking a beverage company to partner with to retain pouring rights on campus. (Helen Tinna / Xpress)

A student fills up his soda at the SF State campus Subway, located in the village Tuesday, May 12. University Corporation is seeking a beverage company to partner with to retain pouring rights on campus. (Helen Tinna / Xpress)

“No one knows about this and it is a big decision that is going to affect the whole campus,” Linares said.

UCorp’s RFP emphasizes the University’s athletic program, calling for a corporate partner that will “participate in and share the University’s focus and be willing to support the development and advancement of the SF State Athletic spirit.”

Linares said initial discussions about the pouring rights contract suggested that funding gained from the partnership would largely benefit student groups and that only recently did the priority shift to university sports programs.

The RFP invites the selected partner to support the athletic program with scholarships and provide branded equipment. In return the company will have the opportunity for game day promotions, including product giveaways as well as advertising on venue scoreboards, posters and season ticket brochures.

“The current SF State administration has targeted athletics with renewed interest as an important catalyst for enhancing school spirt and pride in our university,” Director of Procurement Steven Smith said in an email. “Successful athletic programs also generate excitement amongst alumni, one of our more important sources of philanthropic support for all areas.”

Responses to the proposals are due May 22 and will be reviewed during the summer months, according to Smith, who said the goal is to make a decision in early fall.

An Bui of Real Food Challenge said the organization will continue to reach out to the campus community for input and issued a petition to protest the execution of a pouring rights deal all together.

“I feel like the majority of students wouldn’t want it to go to athletics; I think they would want it to go somewhere else,” Bui said. “But we won’t know that until there is a public discussion.”