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Christmas on Campus continues to spread cheer

Christmas on Campus continues to spread cheer

Shayleigh Frank ’21 November 23, 2020

Christmas on Campus — a half-century tradition of giving to the Dayton community — endures this year despite the global pandemic ... it just looks a bit different as students headed home for a scheduled Thanksgiving break. They will finish the semester online, which means students won’t be on campus for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the traditional day of the Christmas on Campus celebration.

Student-athletes put together craft bags for kidsBefore they left campus, student organizations put together more than 2,000 holiday craft kits to be delivered to students of partner elementary schools. The Christmas on Campus committee organized a gift drive that will have presents delivered to Dayton Children’s Hospital. They hung lights on campus and hosted a house decorating contest. The committee also created T-shirts designed by senior Mary Sander that feature the theme “Tradition Lives On,” which can be purchased online through Dec. 1.

Students hang Christmas lights in trees“At this moment in time we must prioritize the health and safety of our community,” said third-year student coordinator Dana Roscoe in a virtual interview. “Unfortunately, that means we will not be able to host an event in the same capacity as years prior.”

The committee also published a children’s book that includes illustrations by some of the first- and second-graders who typically attend the event as buddies, said third-year student coordinator Hannah Ilyavi.

Titled I’m Dreaming of a Dayton Christmas … Traditions Live On, the book tells the story of a young girl, Noel, whose older brother attended Christmas on Campus and told her about all the fun she had.

“Noel went to sleep and dreamed of her very own Christmas on Campus with her UD buddy, Holly,” said Roscoe. “At the end of the story Noel learns that the true meaning of Christmas is not where you go or what you get, it is who you are with.”

A book will be distributed to the teachers of each first and second grade classroom in Dayton Public Schools. It is available for sale to the public through Dec. 13.

“Although it won’t be the year that we expected, our committee has been working endlessly to still bring joy to the Dayton community,” said Ilyavi. “We are sad we will not be able to interact with the community face-to-face, however we hope to still bring happiness and Christmas spirit to the kids and families.”

The students learning from home and the wider off-campus community can celebrate the feast holiday through virtual attendance at a Mass to be held in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. It will be streamed live on YouTube at 7 p.m. ET Dec. 8. Alumni communities around the country continue to serve their neighbors through modified Christmas off Campus events.

Students cheer for Obi-One