Dining Services hosts special events to ease finals-week stress

While themed dinners have happened all semester and within this past week, Dining Services many events on its schedule during finals week, starting Dec. 13. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

With final exams lurking right around the corner, the University of Connecticut’s Dining Services has many events planned to help students escape from their books and study materials if only for a little while.

While themed dinners have happened all semester and within this past week, there are many events on the schedule during finals week, starting Dec. 13.

The week kicks off with the annual Midnight Breakfast, hosted at the Student Union, on Sunday, Dec. 13. Any student with an UConn ID can pick up a free bracelet at any dining hall starting today (Friday) or on Sunday night in the Union’s main lobby. In addition, a designated room in the Union will host Dairy Bar ice cream and toppings for seniors, Dining Services Assistant Director of Retail Operations Charles Couture said.

The first Midnight Breakfast was held in the fall of 1998, said Dining Services Executive Director Dennis Pierce. Turnout has been steady over the years, with a student attendance ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 depending on the semester and the weather, Couture said.

“Students are very appreciative of Midnight Breakfast,” Couture said. “It’s the last chance to let off some steam prior to exams and is a nice break from the normal service offered.”

Buckley is also hosting their specials under a tent at dinner throughout the week, with a sundae bar on the 13th; decorate your own cookies and cupcakes on the 14th; a hot appetizer bar on the 15th; a dessert bar on the 16th and another sundae bar on the 17th, said Buckley manager Susan O’Keefe.

On Wednesday the 16th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or as long as supplies last), Northwest Dining Hall will hold a “Decorate your own Gingerbread Man or Woman.” The cookies will be fresh from UConn’s own bakery, Not Just Desserts, and the dining hall will also provide toppings and frosting, said Assistant Area Manager Drew Gibson.

“Somewhat of a tradition at Northwest, I have been organizing this for years, and the students really love the stress reliever during finals,” Gibson said. 

Students studying in the library might also receive free cookies as a special giveaway as part of finals week, starting on Dec. 14. Area Manager for UC Cafés and the Dairy Bar Ethan Haggerty said that he collaborates with the library, dropping off 100 bagged cookies for library staff to randomly give out to students who are studying, complete with a note that says, “Smart cookies get sweet grades, so let Dining Services get you an A! Good luck on finals from Dining Services!” 

“(The library staff) sort of do it as a random act of kindness thing and don’t let people know when,” Haggerty said. “It’s supposed to just be a nice surprise when the staff walk around and give (cookies) to the kids studying.”

Pierce said his advice to students during this stressful week is to “drink plenty of fluids, eat, healthy and don’t go without sleep.”

“Showing students that the faculty and staff are invested in their success is important,” Couture said. “This puts students, faculty and staff out of their normal interaction and is a fun way to kick-off the last week of exams."


Molly Stadnicki is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at molly.stadnicki@uconn.edu. She tweets @molly_stadnicki.