By Leah Wilkinson
An end-of-semester event attended by many Bellarmine students will look a little different this fall.
Late Knight Breakfast has become a university tradition leading up to study day and finals week. This year’s event — which will take place Nov. 18 and be “Friends” themed — will be evening-long and paired with frequent sanitizing, as well as registration time slots for distancing purposes.
The event is held in UDH and organized by the Bellarmine Activities Council (BAC) and consists of a variety of breakfast foods served by faculty and staff. It usually takes place from 10:30 p.m. to midnight, but due to students having classes the following day and COVID-19 precautions, this year’s event will take place from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Bellarmine Dean of Students Sean McGreevey has served food at Late Knight Breakfast for years and said he will be returning this semester.
“It’s one of my favorite traditions,” McGreevey said. “I think it’s a comforting thing — the menu is comforting always because people find breakfast food to be comforting, and then just seeing some familiar faces.”
BAC Vice President Reed Sparta, a health services major, said the group worked to make modifications to the event.
“We got together with the University Dining Hall [staff] and we tried to figure out what the best option was for students, just because we knew a lot of students had tests and projects, and obviously we’re in class the very next day so we wanted to make sure everybody got that timeframe and that they could come to Late Knight Breakfast,” Sparta said.
Sparta said this year’s event will take place in one-hour increments, such as 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., limited to 100 people each time period. However, students who have registered and are next in line may get to attend earlier than their time slot should other students leave UDH before the next scheduled time slot.
“That way we can keep everybody healthy and socially distanced as well,” Sparta said. “It just gives people that option to come when they want.”
Sparta said students will enter UDH through the new single-door entrance, with a socially distanced line taking place out that door and up the glass staircase back into the walkway in Frazier Hall.
“I think we’re still going to have [“Friends”-themed”] Kahoot going and “Friends” episodes going within Frazier because obviously when you’re up top and in that walkway, you can look down over Frazier, so I think that’s something we’re going to try and do a little bit differently this year,” Sparta said.
McGreevey acknowledged a large part of the event in the past has been socializing while waiting for the UDH doors to open.
“One of the big social events of the year is waiting in line, so it’s unfortunate that can’t happen,” McGreevey said.
Late Knight Breakfast is usually Christmas-centric, with a lit tree and Christmas cookies and hot cocoa. However, this year the event will incorporate both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sparta said this year’s “Friends” theme stemmed from Thanksgiving episodes of the show and said she believes the theme is a good combination of the two holidays.
Mugs have been offered as souvenirs in the past, but Sparta said coasters will be the souvenir this year.
“We were thinking ‘How can we do something a little bit more creative this year that people can take home with them?’ especially since everyone’s going home for the holiday break,” Sparta said. “We thought it was a good, handy household item.”
Sparta said the socially-distanced tables will be set up the same way they have been this semester, with students sitting one or two to a table and about six feet apart from one another. She also said BAC members and UDH staff will sanitize between groups.
McGreevey said faculty and staff will take precautions to ensure students’ safety, too.
“As far as faculty and staff actually serving, obviously we’re going to do our daily form and check for symptoms and those kinds of things, and then I’m sure we’ll wear masks and we always wear gloves,” McGreevey said. “We want to follow the guidelines of six feet and 15 minutes and we don’t wanna create a contact situation.”
Madison Martin, interim assistant director of student activities, said Palio will be closed Nov. 18 to push students to go to Late Knight Breakfast.
“I think there’s going to be a little bit of flexibility as far as the hours just in case someone doesn’t sign up, so they can still eat,” Martin said.
McGreevey said there will also still be other on-campus dining options for students who don’t attend Late Knight Breakfast.
“[UDH] will still have to-go options, so [students] will be able to get a box and leave, and then Cafe Ogle will be open as well, so if they wanna go get an Einstein’s sandwich or they don’t want breakfast or they don’t want to experience the crowd, then they can go over there,” McGreevey said.
Martin said BAC will monitor the traffic flow into the event.
“BAC is completely staffing the line and entrance process and the [Sodexo staff] will do the regular swiping in for meals, but BAC, they have a full schedule and their staff will be monitoring the line and the attendance and everything,” Martin said. “I’m hoping that we have a steady flow throughout the night in order to just keep things safe.”
Martin said she thinks there will be certain time slots that are busier than others.
“I do think we’ll have a pick-up right around dinner time for people who wouldn’t normally come to Late Knight Breakfast and are just going to come to eat, but I do think for nostalgia-sake those people that are Late Knight Breakfast fans will try to come late at night,” she said.
Although some students may have already made up their minds about going to Late Knight Breakfast, others are still not sure.
Junior sociology major and music minor Sasha Belinova said she doesn’t know if she’ll attend.
“Usually with how they’ve done it in the past, there are a lot of people that come and it can get really crowded,” Belinova said. “And now we’re gonna have to set up social distancing stuff and I just feel like now we’re gonna have to put a cap on how many people can actually attend and the people who would get there the earliest would get the first dibs, and that’s not gonna be me because I have a concert that day, too.”
Belinova said she also thinks students might choose not to attend for reasons other than COVID-19.
“I think that’s another reason people might not go, because like ‘Hey, I’ve got stuff to do,’” she said.
Martin said she wants students to feel the same sense of community they’ve felt in past years, despite COVID-19.
“I just hope it’s a good opportunity for students to still feel like we’re doing some of those traditions,” Martin said.
Students can sign up for a time slot here.