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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

These news items about residential colleges, collegiate houses, and the renewal of university life are posted for readers of the Collegiate Way website. For more about residential colleges and collegiate universities please visit the main Collegiate Way page.

Feed Them and They Will Come … at Midnight

— An oft-repeated theme of the Collegiate Way website is the importance of food within a residential college: it is the currency of all social transactions. In today’s edition of the Murray State News, Elizabeth Cawein reports on the tradition of breakfast at midnight in the Murray State University residential colleges during exam week, a fine example of one way food can be meaningfully incorporated into collegiate life. “I think a lot of times,” says an undergraduate, “we as students have this idea that the University only cares about taking our money and not really about us.” (A sentiment I have sadly heard echoed by many students.) “But seeing professors and college heads serving breakfast shows that they really do care about us.” Cawein’s story appears in abridged form below.

Midnight munchies hit during finals week

Students, faculty interact at breakfast

There is only one stimulus potent enough to bring students from the warmth of their residential college rooms and away from textbooks and note cards during finals week.

It sounds like a house party, it smells like Log Cabin, it could only be one thing—midnight breakfast.

A Murray State tradition for more than a decade, midnight breakfast takes place from 10 p.m. to midnight the Sunday of finals week. Students are invited to take a study break, socialize, enter for door prizes and gorge on french toast, eggs, bacon and other breakfast standards.

Faculty involvement, now a staple of the midnight breakfast tradition, has increased throughout the years in the same vein as student attendance.

This year, the Food Services staff is inviting the eight residential college heads to help serve and take involvement to the next level.

Matt Whitaker, senior from Cynthiana, will make his ninth appearance at midnight breakfast festivities Sunday. Since his first breakfast in fall 2001, Whitaker said the event’s offerings have increased greatly.

“There was not near the selection of food, few decorations and no raffle drawings or prizes given,” he said. “The atmosphere is a lot better now.”

Whitaker said the camaraderie is a large part of why midnight breakfast is such a staple finals week tradition.

“I look forward to it every year because so many people, whether on or off campus, come and hang out at Winslow,” he said. “It’s the last chance to say goodbye to friends before the Christmas break and is also an enjoyable break from studying for finals. The food is good and it’s nice to be served by faculty and staff who know your name.”

Patrick Keeling, senior from Bardstown, will enjoy his seventh midnight breakfast Sunday, and said there are a number of reasons he comes back each year.

“For one, it’s tradition,” Keeling said. “Midnight breakfast is something all students go to, and why would you not want to? Secondly, you get to see a lot of people that you don’t normally see. I know people that one of the few times I will ever certainly see them is at midnight breakfast.”

Keeling noted the $2 price tag for an all-you-can-eat breakfast is also a great bonus.

“It’s nice because it’s one of those things that the University does especially for the students,” Keeling said. “I think a lot of times we as students have this idea that the University only cares about taking our money and not really about us.

“But seeing professors and college heads serving breakfast shows that they really do care about us as students and not just as numbers or cash cows.”

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2016