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College community reflects on Midnight Breakfast tradition

| Thursday, December 12, 2019

For many, finals week is marked by late nights at the library, a resurgence of caffeine addictions and a general air of grim determination. However, Midnight Breakfast at Saint Mary’s provides students with an opportunity to tear themselves away from textbooks and venture to Noble Family Dining Hall to enjoy a midnight feast Monday of finals week.

In an email interview, Karen Johnson, vice president of student affairs, shared some of the history of the event, which has been a hallmark of the Saint Mary’s finals week experience.

“Midnight Breakfast started in the early 2000s and possibly even earlier than that,” she said. “As far as we know, it has always taken place Monday of Finals Week. Student Affairs started it, and it is now a cooperative effort of Student Affairs, Student Activities Board and Sodexo.”

At 10 p.m., students are ushered into the dining hall where they enjoy breakfast foods, music, singing and dancing.

“Around 800 students attend, and faculty and staff are invited to sign up to serve the breakfast, which has always been the case,” she said. “The whole event is fun. It has evolved over time; we added music and some giveaways.”

For Johnson, she enjoys the annual celebration of finals week as an opportunity for the College to provide students with a chance to de-stress in a school environment while enjoying food and fellowship with their classmates.

“The whole event is fun,” she said. “It’s a stress reliever during Finals Week. There’s dancing, singing and games. I love to see students relaxing and having fun.”

Junior Sarah Catherine Caldwell, vice president of Student Activities Board, has had a special interest in Midnight Breakfast even before being on the Board to help plan it.

“When I was applying to Saint Mary’s, everyone always talked about Midnight Breakfast and how they said it was the perfect time to get loose for finals and de-stress,” she said. “It’s part of what they love about Saint Mary’s, and they didn’t know any other college that did it.”

Reflecting on her time at Saint Mary’s, Caldwell said Midnight Breakfast is now one of her favorite memories from her time at Saint Mary’s as well.

“It’s such a fun and unique event. It’s one of those things where you see your president dancing around. Faculty and staff serve,  and that’s something that’s really nice, too, because you get to see your professors. They’re also stressed out like we are,” she said. “It’s a nice time to interact with the whole campus. You see people that you don’t necessarily get to see all the time because of classes and extracurriculars. It’s just one of those moments where you get to come together as a community. That’s something that is so big at Saint Mary’s, and this event just builds on that.”

In addition to providing some much needed downtime and relief from the stress of finals, Midnight Breakfast also serves as motivation to get work done and to persevere to the end.

“It helps me de-stress,” Caldwell said. “It gives me something to look forward to, and it helps me make sure I get my work done Monday night before the breakfast. I then have time to take a moment to breathe, and that’s something that’s really important during the craziness of finals week.”

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