It’s official. Brigham Young University students can now get their caffeine fix on campus.
BYU Dining Services has already begun adding caffeinated sodas to their inventory, and students should be able to purchase canned or bottled sodas while the university switches their soda fountains to add caffeinated soft drinks, according to an online statement from Dean Wright, director of Dining Services.
The university will be adding Coca-Cola Freestyle dispensers at some locations on campus.
BYU also said caffeinated drinks will now be available at athletic events on campus.
In a question and answer piece published online, Wright said the director of BYU Dining Services in the 1950s made the decision not to sell caffeinated soft drinks.
Wright said the decision to offer caffeinated sodas stemmed from student interest, which has grown in the last few years.
In 2012, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement clarifying its stance on how caffeinated sodas fit in with the Word of Wisdom and said it “does not mention the use of caffeine.”
Since then, students have been expressing interest in getting access to caffeinated beverages on campus.
“Over the last several years, we have seen an increase in our customers, our consumer, in requests for caffeinated soft drinks,” said Carri Jenkins, spokeswoman for BYU. “We have been looking at this over the last several years as we’ve seen the increase.”
In the statement, Wright said BYU will continue to honor their contract with Coca-Cola, they will not sell energy drinks and students will continue to have access to the caffeine-free beverages BYU already had.
There are not current plans to offer Dr. Pepper brand drinks campus wide, though they are available at the Twilight Zone and at the Creamery on Ninth.
Jenkins said the announcement does not mean BYU lifted what has been called a ban on caffeinated drinks.
“Caffeinated soft drinks have never been banned from our campus,” Jenkins said. “Campus dining services has just not offered them.”
Word of the news spread quickly Thursday morning as BYU students and alumni took to social media. Jenkins said the level of excitement regarding the addition of caffeinated drinks has taken the university by surprise.
She would not speculate on if energy drinks will be offered in the future and encouraged students to check nutritional information in the dining services website to make wise food decisions.
BYU students rushed to buy caffeinated Coca-Cola products Thursday morning to have their own slice of history.
Whitney Erikson, a senior at BYU, had bought a Coca-Cola in the Wilkinson Student Center after seeing the news Thursday on Instagram. She had taken a screenshot of the news and sent it out to friends with the caption “best news ever.” Previously, she’d gone to nearby gas stations to buy caffeinated soft drinks and had stocked up on cases at Smith’s.
Erikson also called her mom to share the news.
“She said, ‘it’s the Lord’s school, finally,’” Erikson said.
Gas stations were popular spots to pick up caffeinated soft drinks before Thursday’s announcement, as were students who would buy caffeinated drinks elsewhere and then resell them to students on campus. Rosa Mendez, a sophomore who carried an unopened bottle of Coca-Cola through the student center Thursday afternoon, knew of a student who would sell caffeinated drinks in the student center.
She was supportive of the university’s decision and said drinking caffeinated soft drinks is a personal choice.
“It’s nice to have something to give you energy throughout the day,” Mendez said.