Hillsboro Village is home to not one, but two hoppin’ pancake joints – at least on the night before finals at Belmont University.
With a tradition spanning more than 20 years, the Office of University Ministries (UM) and Sodexo provide students with an opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy a huge stack of pancakes as a late night snack on Academic Preparation Day. The event is hosted twice each year and typically yields an impressive turn out among students. This year’s event, held on Dec. 3, was no different as approximately 1,200 students came to take part in the biannual Bruin tradition.
Pancake Night began in the mid-1990s when a local church wanted to support students as they navigated the stress of final exams. From the former UM building, the barn of the Belle Monte plantation, Pancake Night was born. Over time, UM moved to the Gabhart Student Center, and the tradition followed.
Associate Campus Minister Christy Ridings said that because the event was becoming larger and larger and the UM space couldn’t accommodate such a crowd, the team started talking with Sodexo about moving to the cafeteria. Because both UM and Sodexo saw Pancake Night as an important opportunity to serve students during a stressful time, the partnership was a welcome addition.
“As a tradition spanning over 20 years, [Pancake Night] is an opportunity that builds community and celebrates the accomplishments of another academic season,” Ridings said. “It is a way to encourage [students] and show that we are on their team.”
Sodexo would agree. Providing pancakes for over 1,200 students, as well as Sodexo staff to work in the cafeteria, Belmont Dining Services General Manager Kyle Grover sees the event as one that has become an integral part of the student experience. “Over time, these events become part of the fabric of student life,” he said.
Belmont junior and public relations major Julia Couch said she has attended every Pancake Night since her freshman year and was happy to attend the event this semester as well. Aside from enjoying the food and time with fellow students, Couch says she especially enjoys the chance to see faculty and staff outside the classroom.
“The end of the semester comes so quickly, and once finals start, it’s hard to catch everyone before they leave forthe holidays. I’m attending Belmont East next semester, so I was able to say goodbye to a few staff members I won’t see before leaving,” she said. “I love being able to participate in campus events that have been around for a while. Participating in some of our deep rooted campus traditions is part of fully living life under the Tower, something taught and reiterated during our four years here.”