Thousands of students took advantage of one of the most beloved events on campus Tuesday night at the 27th annual Midnight Breakfast. This year’s theme of “Paris” was reflected in more than 10 activities spread out over two floors of the Marvin Center, including a mini Tour de France, a presentation on French art and history by the GW French Club and an informational session on George Washington’s summer study abroad program in Paris.
Staff, faculty and administrators—including President Steven Knapp, Provost Steven Lerman, Lori Lerman and Senior Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski—donned aprons to serve hungry students an assortment of breakfast favorites, including scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, country fried potatoes and French crepes with strawberry and blueberry sauce.
“Midnight Breakfast is one of the favorite student traditions at the university,” said Dr. Konwerski. “It’s a big community builder that brings together thousands of our students to relieve stress during exams, allows our students to interact with GW faculty and staff and celebrates the end of an action-packed fall term.”
Sophomore David Nurse and junior Ben van Drunen won the Eiffel Tower food building competition in Columbian Square with their replica of the famous attraction, using only French toast sticks, popsicle sticks and toothpicks. Dr. Lerman and Dr. Knapp served as judges.
The night’s entertainment also featured charades, drawings for prizes, cereal eating contests, a "stump the librarian" table, a showing of “Ratatouille” and performances by a number of student groups, including GW Troubadours, 14th Grade Players and Capital Funk.
“This is the time of year when students begin spending countless hours in Gelman and Eckles, and it’s essential for them to take a break, relax and refresh so they can maintain their focus,” said Administration and Hallmark Programs Coordinator Jovanni Mahonez, who helped organize the event along with a committee of student leaders.
Administration and Hallmark Programs also collaborated with the Office of Sustainability and Food Justice Alliance to compost all the waste from Midnight Breakfast.
“There were 23 bags of compost from the event and 32 volunteers who worked the compost stations, educating attendees about what materials were compostable, recyclable and should be disposed of in the trash,” said Bridgette Behling, director of Administration and Hallmark Programs. “Those 32 volunteers were comprised of students from Waste Diversion GW, the Eco Rep program and the 2013 Colonial Cabinet.”
For students who still have finals, volunteers from Colonial Ambassadors—a select group of undergraduates who serve as delegates for the GW Office of Alumni Relations—promoted the Alumni House’s first ever study zone on Wednesday, featuring study snacks and a pizza party.
Midnight Breakfast in Paris was a first for senior Elena Kim, who came to fuel up for her finals.
“I’m a senior so it’s my last chance to go,” she said. “My friends said the French toast sticks are to die for.”
Only one final is standing in the way of junior Maronel Stewart, who plans to visit family in Panama during the holiday break. She attended Midnight Breakfast after finishing her last final of the week.
"It's a great time to socialize with some of my friends and to meet new people," she said.
The Midnight Breakfast committee began planning for the event—co-sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, GW Events and Venues, GW Campus Dining, GW French Club, WRGW and the Residence Hall Association—in the early fall. Dr. Konwerski said the committee works with the Division of Student Affairs to “build the event into a truly memorable night” by selecting the theme, recruiting student performers and coordinating the evening’s activities.
Senior Kevin Coyne, GW French Club treasurer, said the club’s participation in Midnight Breakfast helped to raise the organization’s visibility in the university community.
“This was the biggest event the club’s ever been a part of,” he said. “We’re thrilled to cap off a great semester with just one big night of fun, and we’re looking forward to building on the connections we’ve made to put on more big events next semester.”
Visibility was also the key for WRGW District Radio Promotions Director Sarah Kranau. The student-run station provided commentary during the eating contests and played music throughout the night.
“Midnight Breakfast is a great event that tons of GW students come out to, and therefore it’s an awesome opportunity for our station to get our name out there within the student body,” she said. “The event went amazingly well, and my volunteers and DJs all made me so proud to be the WRGW Midnight Breakfast representative.”
Junior Rachael Abram said she was eager to join the Midnight Breakfast committee when she heard of this year’s theme.
“I spent this past summer in Paris studying art history, and I really wanted to help bring that experience to GW students,” she said. “As the arts chair for Program Board, I’ve also enjoyed my experiences with event planning, making Midnight Breakfast in Paris the perfect combination of all my interests. It’s been such an incredible experience serving on the Midnight Breakfast committee, and I am so grateful for the opportunity!”