COLUMBIA — MU students crowded Rollins Street for the Midnight BBQ with beef brisket and glow sticks in hand. Sophomore Nick Hughes watched from the sidewalk, accepting students’ requests to take pictures of his 150-pound, black-and-white spotted Great Dane, Truman.
Hughes, a civil engineering major from San Diego, stuck around in Columbia over the summer and was looking forward to finishing up his schooling in the next few years so he could move back to California.
This was his second time at the barbecue, but bringing Truman meant he couldn’t participate in the large dance party taking place in front of the MU Student Center.
Students waved their arms to the music as they crowded in front of two large video screens, and a DJ got the party going. A bungee run, football toss, mechanical bull and other inflatable games lined the street, and glowing beach balls bounced across the crowd as students recited lyrics to the bass-filled music.
Hoss’s Market & Rotisserie, a regular vendor at the Midnight BBQ, drew lines as early as 9:30 p.m. Wednesday with baked beans, potato salad, pulled pork and chopped beef brisket. A newcomer to Columbia, the Sunflower Waffle Co., served chicken, waffles, carnival corn dogs, Mexican Coca-Cola and thick-cut maple bacon.
Maya Hernandez, area coordinator for Residential Life, was attending the BBQ for the second time. “We just had an amazing move-in and got lots of positive feedback,” she said.
A Los Angeles native, Hernandez said the summer atmosphere was calm with students away. “There was more construction and less traffic,” she said.
Sophomore Emmi Goetz and senior Marissa Asfour were volunteering for STRIPES, a student-run organization that gives safe rides home.
“It was really weird coming back and realizing just how many people I met last year,” Goetz said.
Asfour, who was at her third Midnight BBQ , said she did “typical Mizzou stuff” over the summer such as working for the MU Alumni Association. She also went to Jamaica with her best friend, who has nearly the same birthday as her. The trip was a 21st birthday gift from their parents.
Stephanie Smith, a 2006 MU graduate, remembered attending the event when she was a student. “It was on Hitt Street or something,” Smith said, as she passed out glow sticks and signed up students for the Columbia Mall Club, the mall’s email newsletter.
Smith stayed busy over the summer, helping to put on several events for the mall. At the barbecue, mall representatives in sequined, glowing party hats gave students glow sticks for signing up for the newsletter.
By 11 p.m., some of the food and game lines dwindled, but the dance party with a scheduled finish of 1 a.m. Thursday was still going strong.
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