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Fall 2008 - Crowd flips

Destination Purdue > Fall 2008 - Crowd flips

Crowds flip for late-night pancakes

By Elizabeth Fritz

We've all had strange food cravings at odd hours. Chocolate at 7 a.m. Chinese food at 2 a.m. But did you ever plan for it? The Agricultural Student Council does.

Flipping pancakes

Photo by Elizabeth Fritz

Katie Alexander (left), a junior animal science major from Evansville, Ind., and Aaron Clark, a freshman farm management major from West Lebanon, Ind., work the griddle at the 2008 Moonlight Pancake Breakfast.

The annual Moonlight Pancake Breakfast provides free pancakes, syrup, butter and milk from 10 p.m. until the food runs out. The late breakfast, sponsored by the Agricultural Student Council, draws hungry students from around campus each spring, not just those in Purdue Agriculture.

The event, while only two years old, has been very popular with students. "This event is really good because first, it serves free food, which is key," said Nick Frey, a sophomore farm management major from Darlington, Ind. "Second, it's a perfect time for a study break. For example, I should be doing statistics homework but I'm eating free pancakes."

"I showed up the first year at around midnight on a freezing, drizzly night to find a line that went out the door of the Food Science Building and around the corner," said Dale Whittaker, associate dean of agriculture and director of academic programs. "I could not believe how popular this event was."

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch - or a free breakfast. Although the food may be free, this year's event was a service project for Agricultural Student Council members, said Tracie Egger, assistant director of academic programs and the council's advisor.

Council no strangers to serving up good times
By Elizabeth Fritz

The Agricultural Student Council promotes Purdue Agriculture around the country.

The Moonlight Pancake Breakfast isn't the council's first experience with social meals. The council also organizes:

  • The Ice Cream Social during the first week of school.
  • The Hog Roast, which gathers agriculture students for a free meal.
  • The Spring Awards Reception, which honors top Purdue Agriculture students and faculty.

Find out more:

Purdue GOinAG
Agricultural Student Council

The free food attracts a crowd, so organizers used the time students were waiting in line to teach them a little bit more about the agricultural industry through posters and conversation, said Sara Egan, a junior agricultural economics major from Rensselaer, Ind., and the council's president.

The council also asked those coming to the event to think about more than their own cravings by bringing nonperishable foods to donate to a local food pantry. The donations helped stock the pantry's shelves and provided aid to victims of Indiana's winter flooding.

Food donations seem a fitting addition to an event that ran out of food early its first year, 2007. That year, hungry students went through 80 pounds of pancake mix. The crowds came so fast that organizers had to run out to buy more supplies. Last spring, organizers bought 120 pounds of pancake mix, but hungry students devoured all of those pancakes as well.

"This event just feels like a barn dance," said Brad Morehouse, a senior agricultural systems management major from New Paris, Ind. "With the music and the atmosphere and sitting on straw bales with your friends - that just makes this event really awesome."

Other students appreciated the welcoming atmosphere. "I think this event is so unique because all the students join together in a nonalcoholic event," said Frey. "That is something that I find the most exciting."

The Agricultural Student Council plans to keep the popular annual event going. They also hope it will gain momentum. "The Moonlight Pancake Breakfast is an excellent way to represent the Purdue College of Agriculture," said Egan. "It is a great time for the entire university to interact, eat great food and have a fantastic time."