Students celebrate return of NCCU's 10:40 a.m. break. Photo by Jesse White

Students thrilled at return of 10:40 break to Greek Bowl


After a long, long hiatus N.C. Central University’s cherished Tuesday and Thursday 10:40 break tradition has finally returned from its corona virus shutdown. The break is held in the Greek bowl, which is framed by the Shepard Library, Annie Daye Residence Hall, C.T. Willis Commerce, and Edmonds Classroom Building.

The last 10:40 break was held before spring break 2020.

At the break you’ll hear an exhilarating blend of loud old-school R&B, rap, and hip hop music. Sorority and fraternity members of the divine nine Greek organizations make their presence felt while stepping in sync with one another.

“10:40 breaks are essential to give students a break from their day-to-day courses. It is a moment to stop, relax, and refocus on why you are at school.’ said pharmaceutical science senior Nate Gilmore. “It allows a student to have a more productive day and motivates them to continue working in their courses.”

“I was excited. Being a senior at NCCU and this being my last semester at the institution brings great joy. To see all my friends and other students enjoying the music, dancing, and conversation between classes brings back a sense of normalcy that is needed after year-long isolation.”

Today’s student appreciate that the break provides a space to rejuvenate between classes, clear one’s mind, socialize, and ultimately “chill,” but few realize the break has a history.

“The 10:40 Break began in the 1970s with Student Affairs professionals who recognized that the students needed a time to “exhale” and breathe as this was coming out of the late or long civil rights movement and so space was set aside for such,” said Andre Vann, coordinator of University Archives and Instructor of Public History.

According to Vann, the Greek community has a long and influential history using the bowl. In fact, it’s where their coming out shows were held according to files provided by Vann. The plots and memorials now on the perimeter of the bowl used to be in Annie Day Shepard and Alexander-Dunn quad.

“The 10:40 break was a time to engage in conversation with classmates or an opportunity to meet new people,” said NCCU 1991 alumna, Sonya Scott, who is now a University College academic adviser.

“We sometimes played a quick had of spades and listened to good music.  We either went to the bowl or the student union.  We just enjoyed each others company.”

It’s been nearly one year and five months since CDC and North Carolina officials have approved large outside gatherings of its kind, under strict conditions of mask coverings and social distancing on college institutional grounds. The joy felt by interacting in-person again as a campus community was heart-felt expressed.

“It is extremely important for students to socialize with their peers. It allows you to build relationships, network up, and meet with new people that can help you with your college experience,” said Gilmore. “College is hard for everyone no matter the privilege so it’s good to find like minded people to fellowship with.”


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