Santa and his helpers will be providing smiles as University of Dayton students and local children celebrate the holiday season with the annual Christmas on Campus on Friday, Dec. 7.
This year’s Christmas on Campus will offer many different activities, events and spectacles for both children and UD students to enjoy together. Colleen Hallinan, a junior pre-physical therapy major and member of the decorations committee, said COC will celebrate its 49th year as a UD tradition.
She described the event as a way for the entire UD campus to reach out to the Dayton community through a night of fun dedicated to the kids.
Teresa Spanel, a junior education major and member of the adoptions committee, suggested students first head to Humanities Plaza after picking up their child to attend the kick-off of the holiday festivities with the lighting of the Christmas tree at 5:30 p.m.
“There will be a big countdown before they light the tree and I think it will be really fun and exciting for the kids,” Spanel said.
Alec Wade, member of the entertainment committee, mentioned Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance at the tree lighting along with the reindeer.
After the tree lighting, Hallinan added students should not miss visiting Santa, a favorite activity for most children every year.
“Santa is actually arriving by UD Rescue Squad’s ambulance this year around 5:45,” Hallinan said. “It will be decorated and hopefully there will be Christmas music playing. You can bring your child to sit on Santa’s lap and get their picture taken with him in the Science Center all throughout the night.”
Wade, a sophomore education major, said elves and Mrs. Claus will also be with Santa to greet the children.
Before the event ends at 8 p.m., Wade said students should take their children to the carnival in the RecPlex gym.
“There are 55 tables this year representing on-campus organizations such as Greek Life and sports teams,” Wade said. “The organizations come up with games for the children to play. There will be everything from obstacle courses to snowball tosses set up.”
Wade also explained the committee decided to move another popular activity into the RecPlex to give the kids more space to play.
“The MAC gym is going to be a Nerf gun room,” Wade said. “Usually it’s in one of the classrooms, but there were so many kids last year that we had to move it. A lot of kids really liked it last year. The MAC gym will give the kids a lot more room.”
Wade said the viewing of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” in the Science Center is another popular activity with the kids, while Spanel added the live reindeer in Humanities Plaza are always a big hit, too.
While Hallinan, Spanel and Wade agreed it takes a significant amount of planning to make the night enjoyable for both students and the children, Spanel said her favorite part about the event is seeing all of the committee’s hard work pay off.
“I love spending time with the kids and going to all of the activities and seeing how much this night really means to them,” Spanel said.