By: Alise Jarmusz – Asst. News Editor, Anna Hays – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton campus begins to buzz with excitement for the holiday season once students return from their Thanksgiving break. Decorations can be seen draped over buildings, and lights are strung around trees.
Holiday spirit is not uncommon on college campuses during the last weeks before winter break, however, UD showcases Christmas on Campus, an annual Christmas event that involves months of student preparation.
Christmas on Campus invites children from local schools all over the Dayton area to spend time on UD’s campus for holiday activities.
Many children who attend St. Paul United Methodist Church, where UD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters group spends time with children after their school day to do homework and play games, participate in Christmas on Campus.
The students explained their involvement with the annual holiday event during an interview with Flyer News.
Nine-year-old Treyton, who has been attending Christmas on Campus for four years, said last year was his favorite experience.
“Competing in the games is most fun,” Treyton said about meeting up with his friend and his Big Brother. “I won one match of basketball and he won a match.”
Many of the students enjoyed the array of RecPlex games organized by UD’s organizations and student groups.
“My favorite part was the gymnasium with all of the games,” Brian said. “Pin the nose on the snowman was my favorite. I won that.”
“The part I really, really enjoyed was going through the maze with my Big Sister,” eight-year old Makayla said. She said that she also had fun petting the live reindeer.
Kaitlin, 13, has attended Christmas on Campus for seven years. She was able to attend the event with her sister’s Big Sister last year.
“We met up with my actual little sister’s Big [Sister] and we were able to hang out together the rest of the night,” Kaitlin said. “We all got hot chocolate and watched ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’”
The children also had hopes for the future.
“Something I definitely want to see again is the Nerf Gun war,” Treyton said.
Christmas on Campus began in 1964 “when a group of UD students gathered and decided they wanted to celebrate Christmas before they left for the holidays,” according to the event’s website. From there, UD wanted to “involve the greater Dayton Community; thus local families were invited to come to the event and share in the Christmas celebration.”
Each year, around 1,000 children are “adopted” during the Christmas on Campus event. UD hopes to continue to help even more children celebrate Christmas by sharing the atmosphere of cheer present on campus.