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Coke hour provides more than floats

Jan. 29, 1997

By Randolph Tjahjono

Lariat Reporter

The University's Coke Hour began in 1952 when Mrs. R.L. Smith, assistant director of the Union Building, began a weekly gathering to offer students and faculty a break between classes and give them a chance to socialize with one another.

Thirty years later, the tradition continues.

Every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., students and faculty gather in the Barfield Drawing Room on the second floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center to socialize and drink Coke floats.

'Coke Hour provides time for students to take a break and relax and have a Coke,' said Ron Santos, director of the BDSC. 'It is part of our hospitality program for students.'

Santos said Coke Hour draws approximately 300 students a week who consume more than 30 gallons of Coca-Cola and Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Most students say they go to Coke Hour for the social aspects.

'I'm a yell leader and some of the guys meet here before practice,' said Miguel De Valdenebro, a Spring junior. 'It's free and good and a great place to meet your friends, but you have to be sure not to drink too much or you'll puke during practice.'

Others go because it is convenient.

'It's on my way back from class and it's a nice way to relax at the end of the day,' said Steve Smith, a Yorba Linda, Calif., freshman.

Others use it as a way to promote camaraderie.

'Our entire hall used to go here every week last semester,' said Ricki Harris, a Denver freshman. 'But this semester our schedules conflicted, but we're going to try and do it again.'

Many more students commented on the quality of the Coke floats.

'I go every week because the sensation of drinking a Coke float is so fulfilling,' said Harris.

Nevertheless, there were never more than 20 students in the room at the same time Tuesday. Most came with their friends, got their Coke float and proceeded to leave.

'People used to come here with pitchers and just load up,' said Santos. 'We had to stop that because not only did it cause shortages, but it defeats the whole purpose of Coke Hour.'

The student center used to offer hot chocolate during the winter months, but the unpredictability of Texas weather made that difficult to maintain.

'We used to plan for hot chocolate, but then the weather would get warm and no one would show up,' said Santos. 'So five or six years ago we discontinued the hot chocolate program and decided to stick with Coke.'

Santos said Coke Hour is unique to the University. He said he does not know of any other colleges that offer anything remotely close to Coke Hour.

'It's become a Baylor tradition, and as long as it remains popular with the students we will continue to offer it,' said Santos.

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