WKU faculty member passionate about Coca-Cola return

Betsy Pierce, an outreach coordinator for 11 years at WKU, is a Coke enthusiast. “It’s what I grew up on,” Pierce said. “Things go better with Coke.”

Monica Spees

The familiar hissing and fizzing from a bottle or can of Coca-Cola continues to tickle the lips and coax smiles from the faces of Coke-lovers like Betsy Pierce.

According to Pierce, the WKU Outreach Coordinator for the Counseling and Testing Center, Coke sets itself apart from other carbonated beverages.

When Pierce heard WKU would be dispensing Coke products rather than Pepsi products, she displayed her lifelong fanaticism for Coca-Cola in the form of a few Coke-themed decorations and trinkets in her office.

“I think it tastes better than any other soda,” said Pierce, whose 11-year employment at WKU has not allowed her to know a Coke campus until now.

Pierce said she “grew up with Coke.” She recalled when, as a little girl, her mother would go to the grocery store and purchase a six-pack of refillable glass bottles full of the popular mystery-ingredients soft drink. When the bottles were empty, Pierce’s mother would take them back to the grocery store for them to be filled again.

“I think it tastes a little different out of a glass than out of a can,” Pierce said, “It’s probably psychological. That’s probably just nostalgia.”

Even when she goes to restaurants, Pierce said she resorts to ordering water if they serve only Pepsi products.

But Pierce’s affection for the famous soda is more exclusive than just refusing to drink anything but Coke products. For her, she says it’s Coke or nothing.

“I don’t drink the Diet Cokes,” Pierce said. “The slogan has always been ‘the real thing,’ and for me the real thing has always been the sugary drink.”

Karl Laves, Assistant Director of the Counseling and Testing Center, said he has known Pierce since she was a student at WKU. Laves described Pierce as a usually quiet person but said she became giddy when she heard that Coca-Cola was coming to campus.

“Several of us here on staff are Coke-drinkers, but Betsy is the true Coke fan,” Laves said.

Jimmy Briggs, Chief Operating Officer for Clark Beverage Group, said he is “very excited to be able to offer the world’s No. 1 brand back on campus.”

Briggs said he is glad that people like Pierce are showing their passion for the Coca-Cola brand.

“Those are the people that make it worthwhile to get up and come to work every day,” Briggs said.

Pierce said that exhibiting her Coke memorabilia is a “silly, funny reminder” of her early memories of Coca-Cola and what the drink means to her. Pierce said she knows she is not alone in her excitement about WKU becoming a Coca-Cola campus and has been anxiously waiting for the university to drop their contract with Pepsi and pick up Coke.

Pierce said she would have even been content to have both products in the limelight if it meant she could have her Coke.

“It’s just my soda of choice,” Pierce said. “Always.”