September 4, 2010 by Post Team
The 19-year-old from Shakopee returned to his room at Sherburne Hall to enjoy a late night snack when he realized that Domino’s had given something more, something she had not ordered.
“I was in the elevator and I was like, ‘Really? Are you kidding,’” he said.
The pizza chain had thrown a tennis ball in it and two plastic cups, all adorned with the logo of Domino’s. He was a starter kit from the table drinking beer game, delivered into the hands of a minor student on a campus that does not allow alcohol in the residence halls at a university that is fighting against high-risk drinking.
The promotion set off a firestorm of activity, at one point, had been pulling their business from St. Cloud this half of the pizza chain, which is also a corporate sponsor of Husky athletics. After getting assurances from Domino’s it was a mistake that would not happen again, St. Cloud State and Domino’s have reconciled.
But promotion was shocking to residential life staff and others at St. Cloud State who have seen the dangers of excessive consumption of alcohol and they are using and 300,000 in federal funds to spread the message that there are other options for young people .
“We need everyone’s help,” said Rob Reff, associate dean of students. “This is another example of someone who did not believe that cause us concern, and now hopefully they can be part of the solution.”
Bill Graves, who is the Domino’s franchise stores in St. Cloud, said it might be hard to believe, but thought it was the beer pong table tennis played while drinking. The father of 48 years of age, six, including a 17-year-old said he ordered the 15,000 ping-pong balls without knowing that it would be distributed along with the beer pong cups as a starter kit.
“I do not blame anyone (was disappointed),” said Graves. “If I were a parent of a student who does this, I would be upset, too. I’m going to chalk up this stupid.”
Home of the problem
It all began Aug. 21, when Domino’s employees went door to door handing out coupons that offer supplies of beer pong with purchases. The employees were escorted out of school for violating a school policy requiring prior approval of such deals, said Dan Pedersen, director of residential life.
Domino’s was also exposing students to set the boot beer pong when ordered pizzas, and university officials tried to engage the local manager of Domino’s on the practice. University officials said they could not get anyone to Domino’s will return the call.
The next day, Domino’s employees returned to campus and went to the offices of residential life at Carol Hall. They dropped two containers of one gallon of ping-pong balls, saying he had heard that St. Cloud State had a deficit of ping-pong balls, “said Pedersen.
“They said it was a peace offering,” said Pedersen.
That caused Pedersen gather your group of leaders to discuss whether the university should continue doing business with Domino’s, said.
residential life and campus recreation open accounts that had allowed the bulk purchase of pizza for events on campus. Pedersen bought only six and sometimes up to 50 pizzas for the student educational meetings, some of which focused on alcohol awareness. He estimated that the residential life and spent more than 4,000 in the purchase of Domino’s last academic year. They were “over and above the food provider most frequently used outside the university” for residential life, said.
Campus Recreation has several events each year in which 600 people are fed Domino’s products, said Ron Seibring, director of campus recreation. One is a basketball tournament for high school and one is a math and science case, he said.
Domino’s is also a corporate sponsor of St. Cloud State athletics. The company gives to 12,000 per year to St. Cloud State Athletics in exchange for the right to sell pizza at basketball, football and hockey games, said athletic director Morris Kurtz. The company is also to display a banner at the kiosk where they sell pizza, he said.
Wanda Overland, vice president of student life and development, sent a letter expressing its concern Sunday at Domino’s for promoting and explaining that drinking games beer pong and encourage excessive consumption of alcohol that can lead to a variety of negative consequences.
“As a university, it is difficult to understand how a company whose brand is based on” integrity constraints “and” community involvement “would be the practice’s marketing strategy to high-risk drinking appears to be acceptable – particularly to students are children who live on the property of the university, where alcohol is not allowed, “Overland said the letter.
He later spoke with Graves, who assured him that the promotion was not what he envisioned when he bought the ping-pong balls and does not happen again.
“I have supported St. Cloud State for years,” Graves said. “There is no way I would jeopardize our relationship of some short-term benefits.”
beer pong is played when two players arrange the cups in a triangular formation face to face on a table. Players on each end to put a ping-pong in the cup of his opponent, trying to land the ball in one. If successful, the opponent has to drink what’s in the cup where the ball landed and remove the glass from the table. A player wins by removing all the cups of the opponent.
Graves, who said he has not had a drink in 20 years, praised the St. Cloud State tough stance on alcohol abuse and its efforts to curb high-risk drinking. Once St. Cloud State made it to Graves, the problem was resolved quickly, said St. Cloud State President Earl H. Potter III.
“I knew it was only a matter of getting the matter to the proper level,” said Potter. “We talked to the person who created this approach to marketing. He had not realized the importance of what he created. When he did, he felt ashamed and asked for a change in practice, much evidence you should not let these things slip by. ”
Domino’s Kurtz said: “It’s been a very good sponsor long term and look forward to continuing our relationship with them.”
For Vogel to continue its relationship with Domino’s, the company must prove it is serious to stop its promotion to students.
“If I were to continue, not stop me from them,” said Vogel. “I like to put my money where my mouth.”
And Graves, who said it was and remains a ping-pong player passionate, has a message for students and residents of St. Cloud. Beer pong His promotion has ended, but remains a residual supply. Anyone who shares his passion for table tennis can get to a store and stock up on balls, he said.
“I have a lot of ping-pong balls that I love to be rid of,” Graves said. “I have cases of them.”
Times Copy Editor Joey LeMay contributed to this report.
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