Each semester for at least as long as anyone will admit remembering, the Cowley College division of Student Affairs has sponsored a free, late-night breakfast during finals week. Employees from different groups come over and join the fine folks of Great Western Dining to serve French toast, sausage and eggs, sweet rolls and biscuits and such. Along with that, other volunteers pass out napkins, help clear tables and dispense drinks. Most everything includes a healthy dose of good-natured teasing and friendly banter with students. Last night was the most recent installment of the tradition.
Well before the opening hour of ten o’clock, students start gathering outside the cafeteria doors. A few duck in between the arrivals of teachers and other volunteers, but they are politely chased out at nine-forty-five. Otherwise, the cafeteria would be half full before it was even time to start. By starting time, there’s a line of students outside the doors that fills the sidewalk and spills out into the street. A whole bunch of young adults ready for lots of carbs, a bit of protein and the opportunity to unwind a bit in the middle of the grind of finals.
Tossed in with that is the chance to see their teachers, dorm managers, recruiters, admissions workers, supervisors, coaches and administrators doing stuff they don’t usually see them doing. And in different wardrobe than the usual. Well, at least for some.
The dress code is basically a half-step above pajama party. Well, maybe a full step above. For most of the employees. Being the clothes freak that I am, I decked out in jeans, pullover and running shoes. I’ll admit that some folks were even more comfortably dressed. Kindness and consideration forbid that I divulge specific details but I will say a few folks might well sleep in what they were wearing. In all honesty, there’s probably more jealousy than judgment in that observation.
There was another tinge of jealousy in the evening. When I saw the media coordinator come in with an elf hat, I wished I’d thought to bring in a Santa stocking cap. Santa himself showed up about thirty minutes after the doors opened. With a happy baritone of “ho, ho, ho’s” he shuffled around passing out little peppermint candy canes.
I’ll have to say that the Adkins program or Weight Watchers or something is really working for that dude! He was as slim as the grade margin for a low effort student. I guess supervising a miniature labor force is becoming more taxing in these times…
Regardless of effort, the students got to see a good number of College employees in a different role and in a different light: teachers ladling out food, executives drawing and serving fountain drinks, and the prez passing out napkins. And, in what might be an even better benefit, we got to see each other in a different light, too. It helps balance out the picture when we step away from the usual in a good, deliberate way.
Although it was certainly not on the same level, the evening reminded me of Jesus with a towel around his waist, kneeling at the feet of his own disciples. Kind of makes a powerful statement about servant leadership, don’t you think?