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The Dartmouth
February 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

The Great 24 Hour Foco Challenge

Two Mirror writers sat in Dartmouth’s signature dining establishment from open to close. Here’s what they found.

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Walking into Foco at 7:30 a.m., we had only one goal — to remain for 24 hours. After all, what better way is there to spend a Sunday than inside Dartmouth’s beloved dining hall? We certainly can’t think of one! 

When you think about it, Foco is truly the ideal survival destination. It provides students with shelter, a wide variety of food and drinks and top-tier entertainment with a seemingly endless amount of music. 

We are aware that most students have never seen Foco at opening time, so we thought we’d provide some insight — unfortunately, it’s not quite as exciting as that of the New York Stock Exchange, with its iconic ringing of the bell. Instead, they simply let you into Foco by swiping your Dartmouth ID card. It’s high time that Dartmouth makes the opening of their premier dining hall a much more exciting event, but we’ll leave that debate to the Opinion writers.

We have to admit, Sunday mornings at Foco are, in a word, slow. But how can you blame Dartmouth students for not being up early after a late night filled with pong, loud frat parties and the inevitable, but likely fruitless, search for stolen frackets? So for now, we’ll enjoy the peace and quiet of Foco, interrupted only by Miley Cyrus singing “Party in the USA” at 8:10 a.m. Someone clearly didn’t get the memo that Saturday night was over when making their song selections.

It quickly became apparent to us that staying in Foco for 24 hours was not exactly going to be the most thrilling challenge in the world. So, being journalists, we decided to investigate some of the mysteries surrounding Foco, starting with who students think is responsible for playing Foco’s music.

Aidan Adams ’24 thought he’d gotten to the bottom of the question, declaring that he thought Phil Hanlon was behind it.

 He did not elaborate on why he thought the College President was so concerned with the songs that were playing at Foco.

Kyrylo Bakumenko ’26 agreed with Adams, stating that he believed this because “it’s [Hanlon’s] last year and I think he’s just mixing some tunes, just living life.” 

Bakumenko also had high praise for Foco’s music choices and said that “I think it's actually pretty good… I think it's better than most frats honestly.” 

Shakeb Arsalan ’26 had a different idea of who was behind the music.

“I'm pretty sure it's some hippie from the 1960s who has been discovering music ever since [then] and just listens to the most popular songs of each era and keeps them on… Like right now, they’re playing the most popular songs of the 2000s,” Arsalan said. 

After investigating Foco music and taking a study break, we decided to have lunch. We both made sure to have one of Foco’s chocolate chunk cookies, better known by students as “Foco cookies.” However, these incredibly popular cookies reminded us that they are also highly controversial, so we decided to see what our peers thought of them.

Zach Yusaf ’26 had nothing but good things to say about these cookies. 

“I don’t know how they do it, but they’re the best cookies,” Yusaf said. “They stay hot, they stay gooey, but they’re also a little crispy.”

Anne Guidera ’25, however, disagreed with Yusaf’s assessment. 

“I think that I can bake better cookies than a Foco cookie, so I think they’re overhyped,” Guidera said.

There is not only debate over the quality of these cookies, but also over what they should be called — with some claiming that “Foco cookies” should be called “Fookies.” This name change would not be unprecedented: after all, Dartmouth students are notorious for coming up with new words by combining longer phrases. The basement of the Fayes is known as the “Fayesment,” a walk around Occom Pond a “woccom” and the lobby of Baker Library is affectionately known as “Blobby.” It therefore seems plausible that “Foco cookies” could be condensed into “Fookies.”

Alden Wilcox ’26 is among those who believe that they should be called “Fookies.”

“I’m inclined to say ‘Fookie’... It’s easier to say one word than two words,” Wilcox explained.

When Bakumenko was asked his thoughts about the term “Fookies,” he seemed horrified, saying “No. No. Just don’t say ‘Fookies.’”

As the authors of this piece, we would like to state that we unequivocally oppose the use of the term “Fookies.”

After a lot more studying, coffee and contemplation about why we were actually doing this challenge (followed by more coffee, of course), the clock finally struck 7:30 p.m., marking the halfway point of our challenge. Twelve hours down, twelve more to go!

Or so we thought. At 9:13 p.m., while sitting on the Dark Side of Foco, we were told by Foco staff that we had to leave. We had thought we would simply be allowed to sit on the Dark Side until Foco Late Night opened at 9:30 p.m., but were instead told that no students were allowed in Foco between the end of dinner and the beginning of Foco Late Night. Reluctantly packing our bags, we headed out the front entrance, tasting again that cold, bitter air we had not felt for an entire 14 hours and 47 minutes. And it felt good. Really good.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the current record for the most time that has ever been consecutively spent in Foco. The only question that remains is if anyone will try to break it.