Midnight Breakfast: A Unique, Beloved RC Tradition

by Kaitlin Milligan
Assistant Magazine Editor

Introduced in 1976, Midnight Breakfast was developed to provide encouragement to Rochester College students during finals week with a meal cooked and served by staff and faculty at midnight.

This event has evolved into a beloved tradition on campus for students and employees alike. On the Monday during finals week, students are treated to a free breakfast served at 11 p.m. The event allows time for both residential and commuters to come together to enjoy a meal as a community before the semester comes to a close. Students also enjoy the opportunity to unwind before the start of finals week.

Traditions Within The Tradition

1.  Lining up at the door and welcoming staff.

Each year, students wait in anticipation outside the cafeteria doors for staff and faculty to arrive and the meal to be served.

“I always loved the traditions of Midnight Breakfast. When I was a student people would start lining the hallway down to the cafeteria at least 30-40 minutes before it started," said Katelyn Hargrave, class of 2013 and current office manager and chapel coordinator for student development. 

"Everyone was hanging out. There was always a group of student who would set up an old Nintendo system and play games by the entrance, and then when the professors/staff would walk down into the cafeteria everyone would cheer them on like they were sports stars on their way into a stadium," she said.

2.  Staff Serving Students

Midnight Breakfast provides an opportunity for students to interact with staff and faculty outside of a classroom environment.

“Lots of students enjoy dressing up, and looking silly, and staff members like to have fun with the themes and serve students,” said Chris Shields II, assistant dean of spiritual formation and campus pastor.

3.  Donut Throwing

Every year, students are treated to Krispy Kreme Donuts delivered creatively by staff.  

“I mostly look forward to throwing donuts.... About five or six years ago, I started delivering the Krispy Kreme donuts by tossing them to students from across the cafeteria and it seemed to really catch on, said Vivian Turner, assistant professor of science and mathematics. "Students seemed to enjoy it so I have kept doing it since.”

4.  Goodie Bags  

Student Government hands out goodie bags of snacks to students for them to survive finals week. The student-led organization collects donations from family or friends, and prepares the goodie bags.

“It's a good way for students to get excited about almost completing the semester. Plus who wouldn't want a goodie bag when they are stressed?” said Caleb Touchstone, student body president.

Tradition Enriches Campus

Midnight Breakfast is a time set aside for the community to come together and enjoy a meal in a fun environment before the semester lets out.

“It’s healthy to have group rhythms of laughter and Sabbath together. People probably don't think of it this way, but joy and rest are healthy spiritual practices to share in community,” Shields said Shields.

The event also provides an opportunity for staff to build relationships with their students.

“I think it is great for the students to see the professors and staff outside of their normal role and hopefully see that we care about them and want them to do well in their classes and just in day-to-day life,” Turner said.