On Wednesday, April 19, Swallow Robin Hall hosted what has become a delectable tradition — their annual “Copious Cookies” open house.
With over 2,000 cookies available for the Taylor community, there is little doubt as to why the open house was such a success. What many might not know is that the cookies available had been shipped to campus from all across the country!
Though the open house is well adored, it hasn’t been around for that long. It all began when Josiah Peterson, hall director of Samuel Morris, was a first year student in the Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) program and was serving as the hall director of Swallow Robin Hall.
At the time, Peterson’s MAHE classmate, Ryan Kristofek, was trying to help him ideate potential events for Swallow Robin Hall to host. Kristofek told Peterson a story about one night when he and his college buddies, who were all students at Moody Bible Institute, were really hungry.
Kristofek and his friends were hanging out in their dorm’s lounge, reminiscing on the baked goods they missed from home.
“At one point someone said, ‘Just call your mom!’ So we did,” Kristofek said.
The loving mother was more than willing to send a box of her son’s favorite cookies to him and his hungry classmates.
Kristofek explained that he and his friends were shocked at how easy it was to get one mom to ship a dozen cookies. They then decided they wanted to put this newfound opportunity to the test and quickly gathered their friends and wrote up a script, appointing each person to call everyone on their contact list.
“The script was really long, and some people wouldn’t even listen to the whole thing, but it ended with something like, ‘How many cookies would you like to pledge for hungry college students in need?’” Kristofek said.
The boys collected box after box of cookies and other baked goods from their friends and family. When they realized they couldn’t eat them all themselves, they opened up their stash to the rest of campus during their residence hall’s open hours.
While Kristofek is pretty sure the tradition never really took off on Moody’s campus, he thought it would make a good tradition.
“One day, I was just talking to Josiah, and I said, ‘I think you should do this,’” Kristofek said.
Kirstofek thought that the tight-knit community of Swallow would benefit from such an event, and it seems they did (and still do).
Sophomore Haley Keppel serves as a discipleship assistant on 3rd Swallow and helped plan the event.
“We started calling people about a month in advance,” Keppel said. “Sometimes, people would go and stand up and tell their whole church congregations.”
Every time more cookies arrived, someone would send an updated ‘cookie count’ in the hall’s group chat. This allowed the excitement to build in the weeks leading up to Wednesday night.
In order to ensure there would be a sufficient amount for all of campus, bakers were asked to pledge a minimum of two dozen. Parents, grandparents and even professors (such as Laura Gerig) made cookies for the open house. Of course, Josiah and Leigh Peterson also had to make some, bringing the tradition full circle.
Nearly 150 students were able to make it to the open house. Sophomore Noelani Stahl was walking outside on Wednesday night when she saw students dancing outside of Swallow Robin Hall and they all encouraged her to step in and grab some cookies.
“I went in and they all cheered for me,” Stahl said.
Stahl was completely shocked by the amount of treats available. She stayed for a little bit, grabbed a handful of treats, and then continued on her walk.
Keppel said that any visitors were encouraged to eat their fill of cookies, but in the end, the residents of Swallow still had too many to keep for themselves.
“By the end, we were literally sending people home with trays of cookies,” Keppel said.
Any leftovers after that were sent over to the Theatre Department or Samuel Morris Hall so Swallow could spread the love they had received from their friends and family. The open house was sweet proof that Taylor students receive support from all over the nation.