There’s something about chocolate milk that just feels nostalgic. Maybe it’s because it was a staple in every school we ever attended. Maybe it’s because we put so much effort into asking our parents to get that squirt of chocolate syrup to spruce up our boring, plain milk. A lot of us think that grabbing the creamy, chocolatey drink stops once we get closer to adulthood. These people just never went to Penn State and experienced Berkey Creamery. Brian Siroka’s brother, Shawn, understood this more than anyone. He just moved off campus and missed the Creamery chocolate milk that was offered at every dining hall. He would post a picture of him sipping chocolate milk on Snapchat and caption it #CMF. It became a tradition, a regular occurrence every week for 3 years. This is how the inspiration for Chocolate Milk Fridays started for Brian.
“I never understood why Shawn would do this until my first visit to Penn State. After receiving my tour of the campus, I was able to enjoy lunch at one of the commons where I tried the chocolate milk I had been hearing about for years. I’m pretty sure I had at least three, full glasses that day. It was some of the best chocolate milk I had ever had.”
It took just moving on campus for his brother to persuade him that Chocolate Milk Fridays should be a staple in his college routine.
“Fast forward to next year and I was officially a Penn State student ready to gain my freshman fifteen through chocolate milk. Shawn was a grad student here and he wanted to grab chocolate milk with me so I could start participating and doing it on my own.”
Shawn told Brian while they were downing their chocolate milk that this was going to be his last CMF. He asked if Brian wanted to take it over, and with only a slight hesitation, Brian agreed. The only thing was that he knew he didn’t want to do it alone. His roommate became the first person to join.
“I told him he had to come and do CMF with me. He actually was the one that gave me the idea to do the 3 questions.”
When you go to a CMF everyone gets chocolate milk and then everyone goes around and answers three questions. Two of them are always the same:
1. What was one good thing that happened this week?
2. What was one bad thing that happened this week?
The third one is a different question every time.
“Every time we would eat dinner with his family back home, his little brother would ask us these specific questions. I wanted to start that too with CMF and this was the perfect way to make it my own.”
It didn’t take long for this friday hangout idea to turn into a massive success. One friend turned into 20 friends who just wanted some Friday conversation and cold chocolate milk.
“You know when you first introduce yourself and give a fun fact when you join various clubs? Chocolate Milk Fridays became my go-to fun fact. People would then ask me if they could join.”
“It was a lot of the same people that would come in the beginning. It helped us super close because it was something we would look forward to at the end of the week. Eventually, it solidified our friend group Freshman year and it grew from there. Just getting people to talk about their week allows them to open up and you end up learning so much more about them.”
When I asked Brian for some Fridays that stuck out to him, he had a few incredible stories to share.
“There was one with my entire THON committee during THON. It was at the end of our shift. My captain brought a gallon of chocolate milk and told us we were all going to do it together. It made my entire year. Another one was actually at my sister’s wedding that ended up being on a Friday. My roommate was the photographer and I baked her wedding cake. I went down and got Penn State chocolate milk and drove back to the wedding so we could take our #CMF Snapchat in front of the wedding cake while my roommate held his camera.”
You would think that Brian was the only one with this idea, but he learned that there is another group of Creamery chocolate milk connoisseurs doing almost the same thing.
“They walk the same route every Friday to the Creamery and they buy a quart of chocolate milk and sit at one of the tables there. They don’t leave until they finish the quart and they take a pic of just the chocolate milk and the guest’s elbow next to the chocolate milk. It’s pretty cool to see another group do almost the same thing.”
When I asked Brian for him to describe why he thinks these are such a success he told me this.
“Don’t get me wrong, CMF is still about drinking chocolate milk, but it’s much more than that. It’s now about the people. It’s a way to get to know someone and get people talking. It’s about the laughs, the smiles, and the beginning of friendship.”
If you ever end up seeing Brian hosting a CMF on campus this year, make sure to join! He loves when new people come and hangout. And if you get the chance to sit down and chat with him and his friends, get ready to experience some of the best chocolate milk you’ve ever tasted.