Great escape to ice cream mountain

by Beacon Staff • April 29, 2009

Eating a pint of Ben Jerry's during stressful times is clicheacute;. The over-extended student, knee-deep in papers, finals and film shoots eats his or her feelings to the bottom of the bowl. But on April 30, students can wade in something other than a pool of salty tears. The Late Night Buffet, with its mountain of ice cream in a kiddie-sized swimming pool, offers a more delectable alternative.

From 9:30-11 p.m., the Dining Hall will extend its hours to accommodate hungry late-night studiers for some food, raffle prizes and venting.

At the end of each semester, Food Services, Business Services and Housing and Residence Life host the event to help maintain sanity on the stress-filled campus.

Sophomore Arvid Brown said he is planning on going to the food fest because he can't turn down chow he's already paid for in his meal plan.

"Fourth meal isn't available anywhere else for free," the broadcast journalism major said. "Of course I'm going."

Head chef Ronald Ranko has been working the Late Night Buffet and he said the menu this year has a lot of bar food ranging from fried veggies to chicken wings and mozzarella sticks. He also said the awe-inspiring pool of ice cream complete with toppings is back for its triumphant return.

Alvaro Santo, a supervisor in the Dining Hall for Aramark, Emerson's food services provider, said this is his sixth year working at the Late Night Buffet.

"In the past it always used to do very well," he said. "Especially the swimming pool with ice cream."

David Haden, Associate Dean/Director of Housing and Residence Life, said the buffet has been a tradition at Emerson for much longer than the three -and-half years he has helped with the event. He said he was unable to find any records or institutional history to determine when the tradition began and gave no further comment.

History aside, what students hope for the most is some good eating. Sophomore Michael Kaminsky said the food is tasty but the wait to get in on the action does not always weigh in well.

"It's delicious, but not worth it. The line is so long," the writing for film and television major said. "Could there ever be so many heads on the second floor of the LB?"

Sophomore Caroline Jones, former contributor to iThe Beacon/i, has never experienced the Late Night Buffet for this same reason.

"I was going to go last year but when I got there the line was out the door so I went to the C-Store instead to use my leftover Board Bucks."

Santo said once the cafeteria reaches a maximum seating of 400 students, it is their job to let others in line get a share of the feast.

"Every year people sit on the floor, get comfortable and enjoy," he said.

Haden said he recommends students get there promptly when the doors open at 9 p.m. to guarantee a spot to eat and participate in the raffle.

Freshman Jack Humphrey went to the late night buffet at the end of fall semester and said the excitement is worth the payoff.

"The hype is real," the writing, literature and publishing major said. "I always want to go to the dining hall at 9 or 10 p.m. and they always close so it's like my dream."

But students aren't the only ones who are invited to come. Faculty and staff also help out with serving and possibly eating the food. Santo said President Jacqueline Liebergott has come to every event he has helped host.

But for some students like Humphrey, the buffet last semester was an interesting place to meet the school's president for the first time.

"I had never seen her close up before," he said. "She was very excited to be serving me pancakes."

iThe Late Night Buffet will run from 9:30 to 11 p.m. Students with a meal plan should bring an appetite and his or her ID. Admission is $5 for students without a plan./i