My fellow students, we are in the midst of a crisis. We subscribed to false pretenses and believed in hope over fear, and are now left speechless, completely let down by a misleading, authoritarian establishment. We trusted the promises of a campaign designed to win our blind allegiance, naively believing that the conditions agreed upon when we signed on would remain the same afterward. When the campaign was over and our work successful, we looked forward to the next four years with excitement. This year, however, our situation has not improved; but instead it has gotten far worse. After generations spent protecting its students’s well-being, the College of William and Mary has switched to Pepsi. Many of us believed in what we saw when we toured or visited; we applied to the College under the impression that we would be enjoying the benefits of the Coca-Cola products advertised. Our tuitions and meal plans were supposed to support the first American soft drink. Yet, despite its promises, the recent actions of this administration are completely undemocratic. Such abrupt policy changes cannot be tolerated.
Some students are apathetic about our soft drink oppression, citing soaring unemployment levels, multiple undeclared wars and the continued debasement of our constitutional rights as more important causes. These national issues pale in comparison to the dire circumstances students of the College were met with this fall. Not only are our soda choices far more relevant than our employment options or civil rights, but the debate is also much simpler. Whereas the Democrats and Republicans in Congress are equally corrupt, there is a grave disparity in taste between Coke and Pepsi, the former being indisputably superior. The contrast between the diet flavors is even more distinct.
As students, we are already required to dedicate most of our time to academic discourse and analysis. Why would we want to utilize that intelligence in our daily lives? Intellectualism clearly has no influence on politics, and although students arguably have no influence on the College’s vending machines, soft drinks provide a far more comfortable conversation topic than human trafficking or marriage equality. How can we be expected to care about America when we have midterms? Marching on Washington D.C. requires driving for over two hours; getting to the Commons Dining Hall takes minutes. Pundits complain about false promises and federal misrepresentation, but choosing a college requires far more energy than choosing a candidate, and we deserve carbonated recognition of our allegiance.
The decision to forsake America’s soft drink was likely economical. Although I am unaware of the going rate for sodas, I do know that Coke consistently has better commercials, global brand recognition, and again, an indisputably superior taste. Considering these facts, and the general cheapness of our dining services, perhaps Coke is more expensive than Pepsi. But is the monetary difference so great as to excuse such degradation of taste? The College needs more transparency in its beverage choices; we students deserve to know the agents of our oppression.
My fellow students, the time for apathy has passed. We cannot stand by while our civil liberties are crushed and our vending machines overthrown. The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental American right, and although our freedoms of speech, the press and religion are continually limited by all three branches of our government, this abuse of state power has far worse consequences. When one is forced to forego soda preferences and consume Pepsi, all other freedoms are obsolete. Although the federal government wiretaps our phones and spies on our peaceful gatherings, they have not yet had the audacity to abandon Coca-Cola, and thus our dissent remains on campus. Exchanging democratic decisions for corporate greed cannot be tolerated; regardless of political leanings, all students must unite against this tyrannical soft drink switch, because ultimately Coke tastes much better than Pepsi.