Students protest Kraft, Phillip Morris

Members of Students Transforming Irresponsible Corporations, a new campus activist group, urged students and passers-by in the Marvin Center ground floor to phone Kraft Foods Inc. about its affiliation with parent company Phillip Morris last Tuesday.

STIC also called for a boycott of Kraft products, including macaroni and cheese, a college favorite, because the company is a subsidiary of tobacco giant Phillip Morris.

Freshman Sophia Goldshteyn, a STIC coordinator, volunteered to call the company Tuesday.

You buy politicians with your soft money, she told Kraft representatives over the phone. As a person, as a citizen, I don’t approve and that’s why I’m boycotting Kraft.

Callers said Kraft’s responses ranged from the friendly, I’ll pass on the message, to confusion about why they received the call.

Goldshteyn and other STIC members said Phillip Morris entices children with giveaways requiring them to purchase a pack of cigarettes. STIC members said Kraft uses its wholesome image to influence politicians and public perception.

The campaign is part of a national movement led by INFACT, a Boston-based activist group that has protested Phillip Morris for seven years, said freshman Kate Bonner-Jackson, a STIC coordinator.

I think putting money through Kraft to give to politicians is just another example of the manipulation of corporations, she said. It’s friendly, lovable Kraft. They have these happy commercials with Phillip Morris and Kraft, but they’re using it to manipulate government.

STIC members said they think the boycott could impact profits of both companies.

Students made about 80 phone calls and signed about the same number of post cards addressed to Phillip Morris throughout the day, said freshman Matt Lord, a STIC member.

STIC is registering as a GW student group and creating a constitution, Bonner-Jackson said. The group plans to continue the campaign against Kraft and Phillip Morris and protest the international corporation, Citigroup, for funding what STIC calls worldwide environmentally destructive projects.

We’re doing coalitions with American and Howard (universities), said Goldshteyn, adding that the GW College Democrats and a Silver Spring, Md., high school have also shown interest in the campaign.

STIC will show the documentary Making a Killing, produced by INFACT, on campus Nov. 30. The movie exposes Philip Morris’ lies about their feel-good advertisements, showing that Phillip Morris actually does market to kids around the globe, Bonner-Jackson said.

-Kate Stepan and Tori Reimann

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