BYU at Provo and LDS Business College have begun to sell caffeinated beverages on campus ending a more than half-century “caffeine-free” policy, but its impact on BYU-Hawaii is still unclear according to BYU-Hawaii Food Services staff.
David Keala, the director of Food Services, said they have had meetings as a staff about the topic, but “right now, BYUH has no immediate plans to begin selling caffeinated drinks on campus.”
According to the Daily Universe, Sept. 21 marked the first day students could purchase caffeinated drinks at the church’s main university. Carri Jenkins, a BYU Communications spokeswoman, told the Daily Universe this change is a response to “accommodate consumer requests” and noted that consumer preferences have been changing over time.
Ashlee Hatch, a current BYU student studying psychology, said in a phone interview, “It was like the minute you woke up, there was a post about it from BYU. I don’t know when they brought it in, because right when I got to campus, Coke was available. It’s almost as if they did it overnight.”
When asked about if she would like to see BYUH sell caffeinated beverages on campus, Kailey Trussel, a senior studying psychology and transfer student from BYU, answered, “Yes. One thing that I’ve noticed since transferring to BYUH is that sometimes they are a little bit behind everyone else. This is fine, but I don’t understand why there should be any differences as to what beverages are provided or available. We are all attending church schools that are being funded by the same organization.”
According to its website, LDS Business College started selling caffeinated beverages in the cafeteria in March due to consumer demands observed from other church-owned businesses, like the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
The topic of caffeine at BYU has been ongoing well before this decision was made according to Hatch. “There have been rumors about it forever. One of my roommates was actually in a study for it last year. They took random students and asked them about their caffeine intake to gather research.” How this information was used was unsure, said Hatch, but it doesn’t surprise her the school would do so much research before making the decision.
Students in Provo have loved the change, according to Hatch, and have been active on social media about it. “All over social media, there were pictures with photoshopped Coke bottles. There was a picture of the Brigham Young statue holding a Coke bottle.
“Another was a picture of an Indian statue on campus who is cradling a Coke bottle. Somebody posted a picture of the name ‘Mahonri Moriancumer’ on the side of a Coke bottle. It was definitely photoshopped, but it was funny.”
The support for the changing policy in Provo has been positive among BYUH students as well, according to Trussel. She said she thinks this is a great change for BYU in normalizing the church from the world’s perspective.
For Trussel, the lift on the ban settles the debate of whether caffeine is included in the Word of Wisdom. However, she stated there is a healthy balance people need to find when it comes to caffeine consumption. “This change is one small step for BYU students, one giant leap for Mormons.”