Much-kneaded break


It’s close to 1 a.m. on Sunday night; the recorded sounds of indie-rock music pulsate from a pair of large speakers. A line of students snakes through the building, spilling outside onto the rain-soaked sidewalk. They are all waiting to be served.

A scene from one of Chicago’s newest clubs? Not even close. These patrons are clutching book bags, not beers. At the University of Chicago this time of year, both sleeping and hanging out are pretty much unheard of. Tonight, or rather this morning, is different. Though finals will begin in only a few hours, hundreds of students have jammed into the Reynolds Club for the annual Midnight Breakfast, an event sponsored by the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA) featuring pancakes, eggs, and sausage—and a much-needed break from studying.

This year, with grant money from the U.S. Department of Education’s drug-free schools program, the Student Care Center also offers free chair massages, given by two members of Chicago Massage Professionals. About 30 students take advantage of the seven-minute treatments, a part of the event used as a model for other colleges across the country.

As things start to wind down and the conversation switches from holiday presents back to Plato, the students seem eager to head back to the books.

By Dan Dry

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Photos: (clockwise from top-right) Martyna Dubensky of Chicago Massage Professionals gives 4th-year Matt Graham a chair massage around 11:30 pm; Christin Davis, a first-year MAPSS graduate student, works away on a take-home exam near midnight, apparently oblivious to the mass of students lined up for the Midnight Breakfast; the line stretches out the Reynolds Club door into the rain on 57th Street; while some students chow down, hundreds wait to be served; students and food-service employees serve the free Midnight Breakfast.

Photos by Dan Dry.

December 10, 2004