DECATUR — At least one was class dismissed early Wednesday afternoon so students could get to Millikin University’s 79th annual Cookie Party.
Appropriately, it was a class on the biochemistry of food, and some students made it over to Richards Treat University Center from Leighty-Tabor Science building a half-hour before the party started at 2 p.m.
First in line was Kristina Stavroplos, a senior from Palos Park who was feeling a bit nostalgic about the thought that this would be her last cookie party.
“It’s cool the university does this to get students pumped up for finals week and the holidays,” she said.
At the stroke 2, Molly Berry — Millikin’s director of residence life and the party’s hostess — invited students to step inside the center’s lower level.
This caused a line that stretched all the way upstairs to the front lobby to split four ways to pass on either side of two rows of tables holding eight large trays of sweet treats.
Aaron Thomas, a sophomore from Hoffman Estates, managed to fit 11 cookies onto his paper plate before heading out for a meeting of the Council on Curriculum in Shilling Hall.
“I love cookies,” he said. “These will last me maybe two minutes at most.”
Putting on the annual event takes a lot more time, by contrast. Berry estimated that 4,700 cookies would be served up Wednesday afternoon by 45 to 50 volunteers busily replenishing trays from dozens of containers in the next room.
“I mostly pray we have enough cookies to last two hours, even though we’ve never run out before,” Berry said.
Many students lingered to listen to holiday music played by musicians from Millikin’s school of music, talk with friends and enjoy a second, or third, plate of cookies.
A trio of women was having fun taking pictures of themselves behind a photo-op board designed to make two people look like snowmen.
Among them was Stevene McGee, a senior from Decatur, trying to snap a shot of Arielle Austin, a senior from Chicago, and Christina Patterson, a sophomore from Flossmoor.
“This is the one time when you can see everybody on campus in one place,” McGee said. “I look forward to it every year.”