More than 50 University of Houston students lined the walls of the American Café in the University Center Monday for a chance to get a mustache.
Milk mustaches, worn by students, were photographed as part of the Where's Your Mustache promotion, sponsored by the Cosmopolitan Milk College Tour. The tour is designed to promote an age-old practice towards good health, drinking milk.
"There is a real crisis on college campuses across the country. The number-one drink that most students stop drinking when they reach college is milk," said Jo Shields, a local dietitian. "This is a fun way to promote a very necessary and important part of our daily diet."
Ryan Martin, a senior in hotel management, was eating lunch at the UC during the competition.
"I think its more of a fun thing than about nutrition," Martin said. "I think the guys really like taking a picture next to Tyra Banks."
Banks was not there in person, but a life-size cutout served as a background for photographs.
Gina Johnson, promoter for the Milk Mustache Campaign said UH was one of the last schools in their 100-city tour.
"We have just a couple of schools left before the campaign ends for this semester," Johnson said. "The winner of the contest will be notified within the next few weeks as soon as the judges reach their decision."
Luz Lopez said she enjoys milk on occasion. As she drank her large Coke, she said her drinking habits have not really changed since attending college. "I drink about the same as I did before I started college. But I do like the milk commercials. I think they are cute," she said.
Richard Edwards, senior business major, was one of the many students donning a large milk mustache. "I usually drink milk in the mornings, especially with cereal," said Edwards. "I'm usually in a rush in the mornings and cereal is all I have time for. But I occasionally drink it during the day also."
Some students admit that their drinking habits have changed while in college.
"Milk was more accessible when I was home," said Catrina Sumter, a sophomore business major. "At home it was always there in the refrigerator. Here there are so many other choices, juice, soda, and I normally don't choose milk."
Elese Fisher, a sophomore finance major agreed. "My mom always brought milk and it was available," Fisher said. "I used to drink it everyday, but now it's hard to get it."
Shields agreed with the students' evaluation, "You need to ask the restaurant managers to 'Show me the milk' and then make a milk mustache." American Café supervisor Ann Hadley, said they receive a new shipment of milk each day at 6 a.m. "Students get fresh milk every day. We try to make sure there is always an adequate supply on hand."
Hadley also admitted that there is only one cooler for milk storage in the Café, whereas there are several stations where sodas and juice can be purchased. William Crossgrove, a supervisor at the Satellite restaurant, said that soda is the most popular drink they sell.
"I'm sure to get a comment or complaint if the soda runs out," Crossgrove said. "I have yet to have someone complain about there not being enough milk around."
According to a brochure produced by the Milk Processor Education Program, "The National Academy of Sciences recommends college-age men and women consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day.
Drinking at least three 8-oz glasses of milk will bring them closer to meeting this daily calcium requirement."
Shields said that there are other ways of getting the benefits of drinking milk.
"Students don't have to just drink the milk, they can eat cheese or cheese pizza. And a Latte has a whole cup of milk in it. Of course they could also make a milk shake," Shields said.
"I drink it everyday," said senior manufacturing technology student, Maybe Antonio. As she handed the cashier her money she said, "My only problem is, I thought milk was suppose to make you grow, and I'm still just 5 foot 2."