Midnight Express celebrates the end of the school year

Elliot SteevesStaff Writer

The Campus Activities Board held the annual Midnight Express blowout to round out the 2022-2023 school year at Gustavus Adolphus College.

The appeal of Midnight Express is very simple. It is a time when things happen that do not normally happen in Evelyn Young dining hall. It is also a time when students get to gather en masse and see each other before the year comes to a close.

“It’s just a different experience from normal. There’s a ripple effect from seeing everyone there,” Traditions Co-Executive and Sophomore Elizabeth Orton said. 

Taking place from 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on May 18 in the Evelyn Young Dining Hall, the event featured the hallmark free food, live jazz music, and time to socialize with friends that the night has become so well known for. It is an event that is still much beloved by everyone on campus, both students and faculty alike.

The event is spearheaded by the Traditions Co-Executives in the Campus Activities Board. Along with Orton, Sophomore Adam Norquist filled the Co-Executive role. They are the team that also put together the Homecoming events and the President’s Ball. 

As students walked into the proceedings at 8:30 p.m., they were greeted with the Adolphus Jazz band opening the celebration. They were also greeted by many faculty members, as well as members of Administration. President Rebecca Bergman was even on hand as a volunteer.

At 9:15 p.m., the Gustavus Jazz band took over the music proceedings. At 10:00 p.m., there was a large trivia event, as well as an origami table. There was also an assortment of tables that featured board games, cards, and other activities.

There was also a show at 10:00 p.m. by LineUs Improv Comedy, which took place in Alumni Hall.

While Midnight Express isn’t planned by all of the members of the Campus Activities Board, it is certainly a major tradition for the organization.

“Nearly every member of the board will be there. We really like doing it, and we like being able to do it. There is a lot of work and planning that goes into it, and Elizabeth and I, as the two heads of the planning team, are looking forward to having most of our board there,” Norquist said.

While the Board plans the entire event, it is the Gustavus Dining Service that is responsible for the direct setup.

“They were extremely helpful with getting all of the speakers up, and the food and tech set up,” Norquist said.

Dining service is also responsible for the direct preparation of all of the food. While the menu is certainly hefty at first glance, a lot of it is due to the new items that are being tried out this year. This year’s food menu featured a nacho bar, churros, ice cream, soft pretzels, and assorted soft drinks.

Putting together Midnight Express is an especially rewarding task for the executive board of CAB. It is more of a planning task than one that revolves around setup, meaning it is a bit less hectic than other events they put together.

“It’s been less moving parts, and it’s been nice to focus specifically on making sure it’s a good event. We’ve been challenging ourselves to make new additions such as trivia, prizes, and games,” Orton said.

CAB sent out a student survey during March where, in exchange for a sweepstake prize, they could give input about what they wanted at Midnight Express. The results were very informative for this year’s edition.

The event’s lower workload also played well into the fact that CAB had a very busy calendar with other events.

“We’re in the middle of planning Homecoming [right now], since we plan events over the course of a calendar year, and we jumped right into President’s Ball when [Adam and I] started. I like Midnight Express, because there are less elements to it, so you can see the process,” Orton said.

Ultimately, the experience is an extremely rewarding one for the Board to put together.

“I really like seeing people happy and included at events. Something that I’ve really appreciated at these bigger events is that students are showing up to them more, and getting to know people. And it’s not just the big events, but other smaller events as well,” Orton said.

In order to not flood the dining hall with eager students, CAB broke up the student body into sections based on where they lived on campus.