On Saturday Oct. 20th, the Human Rights Center was filled with over 20 students who joined Estudiantes Sin Fronteras for a “Kick off Coke” Party. The event was the first this term to raise awareness about Estudiates Sin Fronteras petition to ban Coca-Cola products on campus. The party featured a documentary on Coca-Cola’s abuses, information about Estudiantes petition to ban Coca-Cola products on campus, letter writing to student senators, and an array of Coca-Cola alternatives.
The main element of the “Kick off Coke Party” was a showing of the documentary, “Dispatches: Mark Thomas on Coca-Cola.” The film explores Coca-Cola and its supplier’s actions in South America, India and the United States. Mark Thomas, British journalist and political activist, contrasts Coca-Cola’s carefully crafted image with accusations of environmental damage, human rights violations and questionable business practices.
Estudiates Sin Fronteras has been working since winter term 2009 to eliminate Coca-Cola products on the Knox campus, according to junior and Estudiantes Sin Fronteras president, Vicky Daza. According to the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, multiple colleges have already banned Coca-Cola products on their own campuses, including Bard College in New York, Carleton College in Minnesota, Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, College of DuPage also in Illinois, Oberlin College in Ohio, and Salem State College in Massachusetts.
A Knox College boycott of Coca-Cola products is “realistic, because so many other schools have done it,” said Daza. Rosie Worthen, junior and Estudiantes Sin Fronteras co-president, said that their main goal is to “inform more people and let them make their own decisions regarding Coke products.” Worthen said that they have been in contact with Dining Services Director Helmut Mayer about their boycott. According to Worthen, Mayer has been supportive of their goals, “but his job is to supply the students what they want, so until there is a huge drop in Coke sales, he will continue to supply it.”
To achieve this, the organization will continue to have “Kick off Coke” parties. They also plan to table in Seymour gallery from Oct. 19th through 24th to inform students and encourage them to write letters to student senate and sign the petition.