The Campus That Never Sleeps - Y Magazine
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The Campus That Never Sleeps

4,000 pushups by 20 Army ROTC cadets • 2,160 doughnuts • 645 early morning custodians

12: 01 AM

BRIAN M. CHRISTENSEN (BS ’04) didn’t always stay at the J. Reuben Clark Law School this late. Usually he headed home around 10 or 11 pm. But after a day of classes and studying, he was still working late on a memo for his legal-writing class. As he typed he watched the clock on his laptop change to 12:01 AM—60 seconds into a new day: Sept. 22, 2004.

The law library closes at midnight, so Christensen quickly packed up his laptop and books. He made his way out of the law school, walking through dark hallways, silent except for the hum of drinking fountains. Reaching the exit, he pushed against the door handle and stepped into the nearly empty parking lot. As he tossed his book bag into the passenger seat of his blue-green 1990 Honda Accord, Christensen noticed a few lights still on at the law school.

Although the law library closes at midnight, law students and faculty have 24-hour access to the fourth-floor research library and other offices. Among those taking advantage of this privilege on Sept. 22 was Jonathan H. Pacheco (BS ’02), who worked until 1 AM on a BYU Law Review assignment.

At about the same time, a few hundred yards away, near the bell tower, two freshmen talked into the night. When Jesse O. Gunther (’08) was introduced to Richard S. Clover (’10) at the beginning of fall semester, she was interested in him right away. “We just clicked,” Gunther says.

Their friendship developed, and on the night of Sept. 21, they stopped at the bell tower—a midway point on their walk from Clover’s Deseret Towers hall to Gunther’s Helaman Halls dorm—to “DTR”: define the relationship.

As Clover and Gunther talked, many students slept, but others were busy working or studying. In a dining-services kitchen, thousands of doughnuts were fried, with production lasting until 12:30 AM. At 3 AM custodians began their morning shifts, and at 5:30 the ROTC began fitness training for 20 cadets looking to make BYU’s award-winning Ranger Challenge Team.

In dimly lit offices in the Harris Fine Arts Center, employees of BYU Broadcasting worked through the night. At 3:43 AM Garin V. Fuhriman (’06) sat at the on-air console, monitoring the five outgoing signals and 12 return signals. There are always two employees at the facility, 24/7. Fuhriman’s shift began at 12 AM; he still had more than two hours to go.

“I don’t think everybody who works there stays awake perfectly the whole time,” says Fuhriman, “but if you do fall asleep, it can be really bad. If you fall asleep on accident, and you don’t set up the next show, then KBYU and BYUTV go into black.” To combat sleepiness, Fuhriman practiced a careful strategy. “Every night around 1 o’clock I’d have crumb doughnuts and chocolate milk, and that’ll keep you awake the whole time.”