Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Students Fed Up with Coke’s Corporate Games

    Copyright 2013 Trevor Umbinetti
    Trevor Umbinetti • The Spectator

    New soda machines have been popping up all around campus this year, and fizzing tensions have brought several on campus near the point of explosion.

    This is due to the new contract Seattle University has with Coca-Cola, in replace of an old agreement with Pepsi.

    The new Coke machines in particular are noticeably more high tech than their predecessors. Not all machines are the same across campus, but all of them now have debit and credit functionality.

    Trevor Umbinetti  •  The Spectator
    Trevor Umbinetti • The Spectator

    New Coca-Cola machines on campus come with more than just a chilled beverage. Students can find themselves spending more than a normal amount of time at machines playing various games on the incorporated touch screen.

    A handful of them are touch screen operated with games and videos programmed into their interactive design. However, the “entertainment” that comes with this new technology has some students irritated with the distracting sounds coming from the machines.

    The new Coke machines are unique in the sense that they don’t let a consumer forget their presence.They have sound effects and they jingle through a cycle all day. There is also audio paired with almost all actions customers may engage in with the machine.

    Sophomore Austin Gill has some complaints regarding the overbearing presence of the new machines and said it is particularly annoying when he eats at the Cherry Street Market.

    However, Gill’s main concern was that the highly visible presence of the machines seems to contradict the mission of Seattle U.

    “It’s a little superfluous to have a vending machine that plays games and commercials that are a little unnecessary…I would say that Coca-Cola’s not a very sustainable industry. I don’t think we’re really in a good position to be supporting them because what we’re doing by supporting them is making the goals of the Coca-Cola industry our goals,” said Gill. “We need to be funding our interests. We need to be funding what actually reflects our school’s interests.”

    Similarly, sophomore and Campion Resident Assistant Wesley Gonzalez is more troubled by the “presence of a corporate entity on our non-profit campus” than the sound, which he hardly noticed.

    Though, he did note that in C-Street the sound is noticeable.

    “I could hear the repetitive, annoying sound of the games on there,” he said. Gonzalez voiced that he didn’t appreciate the attention-grabbing gimmicks of a corporation taking advantage of college students, “especially at this kind of campus, with its values.”

    Like Gill and Gonzalez, sophomore Connor Burgess said he has mainly noticed the machines in C-Street and commented that the new technology behind the vending machines is an interesting idea, but he hasn’t seen anyone using them for that purpose.

    Junior Dane Brennan said he doesn’t think the machine’s games are really noticeable and, if anything, slightly admires the technology behind it.

    “If they’re not obnoxious, it’d be okay. If they’re not blaring loud, flashing lights, and what-not, desperately trying to get your attention, it’d be okay,” he said. “But if they’re just kind of interactive and something fun to do, then it’s kind of cool.”

    Regardless, Brennan isn’t swayed to buy the product because of the new marketing tactics.

    The problem for some students, however, becomes apparent when these machines are making noise in study areas, such as the Douglas study lounge.

    There have been two formal “inquiries” about the machines on campus, which did result in facilities turning down the volume to the lowest level possible.

    “It’s more of an issue that certain individuals have with technology and vending as opposed to the actual issue of it being so loud it’s interrupting study activities,” said Seattle U Bookstore Manager Robert Spencer.

    However, with the Douglas vending machines, one resident made repeated inquiries about the sound of the machines with the housing office, which resulted in the volume being changed about a month ago.

    According to Resident Director of the Douglas Apartments James Willette, when the machines were first installed, the sound was very noticeable.

    The sound also can’t be muted without shutting down the machine completely. Fortunately, the lowest level of volume is almost imperceptible unless you’re sitting close to it.

    Regardless, Willette thinks residents in every building like having the amenity close by and a certain level of noise is inevitable anyway.

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