Ah, Flapjack Fest. Four hours of free food served up by Marywood faculty and staff. The perfect way to gear up for finals.
It all started nine years ago when current Resident District Manager, then Director of Dining Services, Thomas Notchick, partnered with Student Activities Crew (SAC) to create an end-of-the-semester event for students. With combined efforts, the now-popular Flapjack Fest was born.
Flapjack Fest is held at the end of each semester as a way for students to unwind and relax before finals begin. Students receive a free hot breakfast prepared and served by faculty and staff volunteers.
This semester’s Flapjack Fest will be held on Tuesday, April 30 from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. in Nazareth Dining Hall.
Dining Services is responsible for getting the dining hall and kitchen ready for the rush of hungry students. Their staff begins preparing the sausage, eggs, and tater tots prior to the start of the event. It takes a large amount of supplies to ensure that food will not run out during the event.
According to Jeffrey Thomas, director of dining services/executive chef, more than 1,000 pancakes were served during last semester’s Flapjack Fest. This is the highest number of pancakes yet, and it increases each time the event is held.
According to Callie Frieler, director of student activities and leadership, SAC recruits volunteers for the event, orders t-shirts, and chooses music. The group also chooses a theme for each Flapjack Fest that is shown on the t-shirts the volunteers receive. The theme tends to be holiday related for the end of the fall semester, while the spring semester is open to just about anything.
This semester, the t-shirt is “Aunt Jemima” themed. Aunt Jemima is a well known brand that produces pancake mix, syrup, and other breakfast foods.
About a month prior, all faculty and staff receive an email asking if they would be interested in participating.
“We usually get about 40-50 volunteers from different areas around campus, everyone from deans to professors,” said Frieler.
Faculty and staff volunteers are responsible for flipping pancakes, serving the food, cleaning up, and spending time with students.
According to Michael Colangelo, associate director of dining services, certain faculty members have been volunteering since the very beginning. The returning volunteers even get their same jobs back because they know which areas they prefer and excel in.
“They really get into it,” said Colangelo.
Frieler said that Dr. Robert Shaw, director of the counseling/student development center, is even bringing a squirrel cookie cutter so that squirrel shaped pancakes can be served to the students.
According to Thomas and Frieler, the event usually runs smoothly. All preparations are coordinated months in advance. There is always enough food, and just enough hands on deck to make sure every student is properly served.
In addition to good food, Flapjack Fest provides an opportunity for students and faculty to interact differently than they would in a classroom setting.
“Students really get to see them as real people. I think both students and faculty benefit from this,” said Frieler.
According to Caitlyn Custer, a junior advertising/public relations major at Marywood, Flapjack Fest is a relaxing time to spend with friends and plenty of good food, but also with faculty and staff.
“It makes for some extra fun and laughs when you see your professor or the dean serving you flapjacks,” said Custer.