Changing Tastes: Coca-Cola, Water and the Commercialization of Higher Education

  • Sean Cook University of British Columbia
  • Stephen Petrina University of British Columbia
Keywords: coroporate university, commercialization of education


In this article, we explore the interrelationships between the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) cold-beverage contract with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the removal or disabling of forty-four percent (44%) of the drinking fountains on campus.  The details of this turn of events provide a distressing glimpse of the impact of corporate sponsorships, and corporate values in general, on educational institutions (Cook, 2004).  At the very least, this case demonstrates the extent to which UBC’s increasing commitment to maximizing revenue distorts the always tenuous ties between higher education and the public interest.