Ella Kimberly, Reporter
Dr Pepper Hour is a Baylor University tradition that has been happening for more than 60 years. This semester, the Department of Student Activities added a program, the Dr Pepper Hour Club, to reward loyal connoisseurs.
Every Tuesday at 3 p.m. approximately 500 to 1000 students gather in the Barfield Drawing Room to enjoy a Dr Pepper float. According to the Texas Collection, this tradition started in 1953 as the Coke Hour when Marie Mathis, the assistant dean at the time, wanted to take a moment to relax with students.
In 1997, Coke Hour changed to Dr Pepper Hour with the contract to make Dr Pepper Baylor’s official soft drink, according to Baylor Proud. The tradition has changed little since then.
Student activities and Baylor Catering created the Dr Pepper Hour Club to attract new attendants and reward those who are loyal.
“This is a brand new program that we are starting in an effort to continue the loyalty and the tradition of Dr Pepper Hour,” said Jordy Dickey, assistant director of the student union.
A stamp card is provided to all students, faculty and staff walking into the event. Student’s are promoted to club status after attending 10 Dr Pepper Hours. At that point, the stamp card is replaced with an exclusive Dr Pepper Hour Club card, similar to the Starbucks Gold Card.
“We know that a lot of individuals love Dr Pepper Hour so we wanted to provide an opportunity for those who have a deep love for the tradition to be provided with an opportunity to join a club,” Dickey said.
After earning club status, the members get a Dr Pepper Hour Club exclusive mug and are invited to VIP events. Other benefits could include an after hour Dr Pepper Hour and taste-testing new creations.
“It’s a good initiative to keep students coming back, to keep them checking out what is happening that week,” Mission Viejo, Calif., junior John Payne said. “I’m excited to get the free gear when I get into the club. It’ll be cool to see who keeps coming back like I do.”
Dickey said the idea of a phase two has been thought of.
“Lets say in your four or five years that you are here you are able to attend ten each year. We are thinking about maybe doing a plaque in the SUB, and your name would be on that plaque. You’d become the ultimate Dr Pepper Hour connoisseur,” Dickey said.
Before introducing the new club, they started teaming up with different departments on campus. The draw to Dr Pepper Hour is larger when they partner with Study Abroad or BU Missions. Students can learn about new opportunities while meeting in a friendly environment.
“It’s a neat time to be able to just come here and relax. Since it’s still the beginning of the week, it’s a nice break,” Payne said. “You can get introduced to new activities or meet with your fellow students. It’s a welcoming place.”
The basic construct of the gathering is what makes this tradition a cherished one.
“It’s centered around taking time to spend time in community. And that was the start and the essence of it. When Baylor says that it is a community, they really mean it. And this is one way they are living it out,” Dickey said.