Autumn quarter is about to begin here at Ohio State University.
This morning at 7:30, I look outside the large floor-to-ceiling glass windows of my office in the main library and there's this huge truck delivering Honest Tea to the outdoor events that are part of fall orientation.
Painted black, the truck prominently sports red Coca-Cola bottles in the center of the round-about arrows that signify recycling. On the truck are the slogans "Give it back" and "live positively."
When I speak to the ladies setting up the booth, I discover that it's a promotional event, not a sales event. This means that every plastic bottle of Honest Tea will be given away throughout the day. First come, first served. All the teas are certified organic by the USDA and the teas offered for this event come in the flavors of cranberry lemonade, pomegranate, agave mate, berry hibiscus, jasmine green tea, and honey green tea. This product is also fair trade certified.
Speaking to the ladies, I also discovered from them that Coca-Cola doesn't own Honest Tea, but the major corporation distributes the beverage. I didn't see a single bottle of Coca-Cola anywhere.
Could this possibly mean that the mother ship understands that college students are more health conscious and would choose tea over soda?
As for this orientation week before school starts, bands will play, dozens of booths will be set up, plenty of freebies and giveaways will be strewn around to make sure the entering freshmen get very closely acquainted with all the goods and more goods readily available on campus.
It's frightening to think of all the promotions and advertising that go on in large institutions that contain a high population density. 52,568 students enrolled in the fall quarter of 2007. That was 3 years ago. Regardless of whether enrollment this fall has gone up or down, I'm certain the number is still huge, especially given that on top of the student population is the population made up of faculty, staff, maintenance and security personnel. Ohio State University is very much like a city within the city of Columbus.Continued on the next page