‘Late Night Pizza’ brings students to Thomas Hall after hours

Daja%27Nay+Brown%2C+a+senior+psychology+major+and+student+worker+at+the+Thomas+Hall+Dining+Center%2C+places+a+piece+of+pizza+on+a+plate+for+a+student+during+Late+Night+Pizza+on+Monday.

Analicia Haynes

Daja'Nay Brown, a senior psychology major and student worker at the Thomas Hall Dining Center, places a piece of pizza on a plate for a student during Late Night Pizza on Monday.

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

The smell of pizza lingered out into the hallway connecting the dining center to Thomas Hall Tuesday night as students shuffled down the line, some wearing slippers, to get their late-night fix.

A tradition that started around 2000, Late Night Pizza has hosted students for almost two decades, fueling their nighttime cravings or providing a dinner after a long day of work from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Daja’Nay Brown, a student worker in the Thomas Dining Center, handed out slices of pepperoni, cheese and “Mediterranean” pizzas with a smile.

Daja'Nay Brown, a senior psychology major and a student worker at the Thomas Dining Center, hands a student his pizza Monday night during Late Night Pizza. Brown said though she is ready to graduate, it will be bittersweet.

Analicia Haynes
Daja’Nay Brown, a senior psychology major and a student worker at the Thomas Dining Center, hands a student his pizza Monday night during Late Night Pizza. Brown said though she is ready to graduate, it will be bittersweet.

“I like meeting different people,” she said, referring to one of the many things she loves about working Late Night Pizza.

Mark Hudson, the director of Housing and Dining, said on average, anywhere from 50 to 100 pizzas are baked during Late Night. The number depends on how many students pass through.

A handful of students were scattered throughout the room, some sitting with friends at long tables.

Femi Usikalu, a freshman family and consumer sciences major, said he comes to Late Night not just for the food, but because after getting off work late, he needs something to eat.

“I need to keep the weight on,” he said, referring to himself as “too thin.”

Usikalu was sitting with Makira Nelson, a freshman pre-nursing major. They met during an African Student Association dance practice. Nelson said Late Night is about seeing the different people.

Kaleb Simmons, another student worker, said he likes working with the pizza and handing it out to students and would rather do that instead of working the dish room.

“Who likes dishes?” he said.

Simmons, who is also a junior computer and information technology major, said he has only worked in the dining center for about a month, and though the work is tedious, the hours are long and he has to stand most of the time, it is a job that pays.

“It’s not too terrible,” he said.

Kaleb Simmons a junior computer and information technology major and a student worker for the Thomas Dining Center, talks to another student worker, Tahuan Williams, a freshman applied engineering major, Monday during Late Night Pizza. Simmons said he has only worked in the dining center for about a month and though the work is tedious, the hours are long and he has to stand most of the time, but it is a job that pays.

Analicia Haynes
Kaleb Simmons a junior computer and information technology major and a student worker for the Thomas Dining Center, talks to another student worker, Tahuan Williams, a freshman applied engineering major, Monday during Late Night Pizza. Simmons said he has only worked in the dining center for about a month and though the work is tedious, the hours are long and he has to stand most of the time, he said at least it is a job that pays.

Brown started working in the dining center last semester and said she could not be happier.

Whether it is the atmosphere, her co-workers or interacting with students from behind the Plexiglas counter, Brown said all of these make the job enjoyable.

Though she did not anticipate having this much appreciation for her work, Brown said once she got the hang of things, she realized it was not as bad as it seems.

“Everyone has their opinions,” she said, referring to people who do not like their jobs and complain daily. “I actually like it.”

As a senior psychology major, she said she guesses she is ready to leave,but knows that once she does it will be a “bittersweet moment.”

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]