In a surprise announcement, Brigham Young University said it would begin selling caffeinated sodas on campus. The university consistently resisted calls for a caffeinated campus, insisting its consumers did not want it.
Owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest religious university in the USA has shunned caffeinated sodas since at least the mid 1950's, the school's director of dining services Dean Wright explained in a rather blunt BYU Q&A.
The campus has a contract with Coca-Cola and will be installing the "freestyle" dispensers around campus.
But Brigham Young University students, who predominantly are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have gone without as part of a central tenet of their religion, which historically has barred the use of caffeine, drugs or alcohol.
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Students had been advocating for the change since at least 2012 after the church revised its policy on the stimulant prized by college students.
The Mormon-owned school said the change was meant to reflect changes in consumer preferences, as requests for caffeinated soda have become more frequent. "We have been looking at this over the last several years as we've seen the increase".
That year, a BYU student started a petition to add caffeinated drinks on campus, but no change had happened until now.
There are not current plans to offer Dr. Pepper brand drinks. But in a 2012 post correcting news reports on the subject, Church officials said the guidelines had been misinterpreted to suggest that it bans the consumption of all caffeinated beverages, including soft drinks. "Dining Services just did not offer them". But to Mormons, students and alumni, the decision is so earth-shattering that some on social media have come to the conclusion that the end of the world must indeed be near.
The school, which was founded in 1875, will continue to offer the caffeine-free variety of Coca-Cola products.