Campus signs $8 million contract with Peet’s Coffee & Tea

Stephanie Lopez/Staff

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UC Berkeley’s University Partnership Program has signed an $8 million contract with Peet’s Coffee & Tea to help fund student programs across campus over the course of 10 years. 

As part of the agreement, Peet’s will also help fund graduate student travel grants and provide scholarship and paid internship opportunities, according to Solly Fulp, executive director of University Business Partnerships & Services. In exchange, Peet’s will continue to sell coffee at Cal Dining locations and be recognized as a partner of UC Berkeley.

With a decline in state support, Fulp said, these strategic campus and business partnerships can serve as a source of future revenue growth for the school.

Each year, Peet’s will also provide four entry-level jobs to campus graduates and help fund campus partners, athletics and capital and service investments.

Raj Bhargava, a campus junior and undergraduate representative on the UPP Advisory Committee, said when looking at companies in the beverage industry to partner with, UPP signed the contract with Peet’s because its mission and core values aligned with those of UC Berkeley. Peet’s is a locally based business, values sustainability and complies with campus health service policies and other restrictions and requirements.

“Other potential coffee partners were far less flexible on issues like nutrition and sustainability,” said Wes Adrianson, campus senior and undergraduate representative on the UPP Coffee Working Group, in an email. “Peet’s understood that a partnership with campus was not just a business opportunity — but rather a chance to build a meaningful partnership that could support students and the whole campus.”

The contract with Peet’s will not displace the already existing coffee and tea shops on campus, including Free Speech Movement Cafe and Yali’s Cafe or the other small businesses around campus. It also does not require other on-campus third-party vendors to serve Peet’s Coffee.

In 2015, UPP renegotiated the campus contract with Bank of the West in an effort to bring a broader approach to the campus’s partnerships to serve more student programs and units, Bhargava said. Previously, Bank of the West was partnered just with the campus athletics department. Since the renegotiation, UPP has also expanded its partnership scope to include different industries.

UPP is considering communications and airline industries as potential partnerships in the future. The UC system has also been looking into expanding the campus’s model of UPP across multiple UC campuses, according to an emailed statement from William Cooper, UCOP’s chief procurement officer.

“In terms of future careers and collaborations … the future of UPP is being able to draw together disparate industries and seeing how students can benefit from them,” Bhargava said. “UPP is however large a component of this campus that (students) want it to be.”

Contact Sunny Tsai at [email protected].