Christmas on Campus
Christmas on Campus is an annual celebration held each December on the University of Dayton campus. It is a hallmark event symbolizing the Catholic and Marianist tradition of the University of Dayton. On Friday, December 6, 2013, we will celebrate our 50th Christmas on Campus!
The tradition of celebrating Christmas and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception dates back to 1964 when a group of students gathered and decided they wanted to celebrate Christmas before they left for the holidays. With that, Christmas on Campus was born. Since then, it has evolved into the night of magic and wonder that we know today.
When Christmas on Campus began, it was a celebration for UD students and faculty. Then UD decided to involve the greater Dayton Community; thus local families were invited to come to the event and share in the Christmas celebration. It came to the attention of UD students that many children may not have the opportunity to fully celebrate the Christmas holiday. Rather than simply inviting children, they created a way to “adopt” a child. Nearly 1000 children from Dayton City Schools are "adopted" by UD students the night of Christmas on Campus. In addition to the schools we work with, the event is free and open to the general public.
Over the years, the activities of the night have grown and expanded to make Christmas on Campus one of the most signature at the University of Dayton. Each year, the entire campus sparkles with holiday cheer. UD Alumni hold "Christmas off Campus" events across the United States, and even around the world! Christmas on Campus is a unique opportunity to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas with the entire Dayton community- students, faculty, staff, alumni, families, and most of all- the children of Dayton.
Christmas on Campus is composed of a student committee who works almost year-round to make the magic a reality. The core COC group consists of 23 students who lead 8 committees to plan all aspects of the celebration:
The Co-Chairs of the Adoptions Committee match approximately 800 children from Dayton area schools with adoptive UD students for the night of COC. They choose approximately 15 Dayton area schools, coordinate activities with school contacts, and distribute and collect permission slips from participating children. To match these children with UD students, the Adoptions committee finds volunteers to work adoption tables in various food courts. All the information is then entered into a database. Adoptions co-chairs must also handle problems such as concerned parents, late permission slips, and lost children on the evening of COC. Experience or involvement in Dayton City Schools is helpful but not a requirement. Experience or involvement in Dayton City Schools is helpful but not a requirement.
The Co-Chairs of the Entertainment Committee coordinate on-campus and professional entertainment, as well as the Carnival held in the RecPlex. On campus entertainment consists of student groups who sponsor rooms in KU and students who dress in costume on the night of COC. Professional acts in the past have included musicians, storytellers, show choirs, dance companies, zoos, and reindeer. The Carnival requires soliciting student organizations to staff each activity table in the RecPlex. Co-Chairs coordinate the rental of games and assist student organizations in collecting prizes to award to children on the evening of COC. The ability to think quickly on one’s feet is necessary, particularly on the evening of COC.
Community Outreach Committee
The Co-Chairs of the Community Outreach Committee coordinate many aspects of COC related to service and social activities within campus and the surrounding Dayton community. Their tasks include: organizing the annual 5K Reindeer Trot, the Hat & Mitten Drive and other fund raising activities. 5K experience is helpful, particularly when planning the Reindeer Trot. Co-Chairs are also responsible for organizing the candlelight procession on the night of COC.
Decorations Committee (Indoor and Outdoor)
The Co-Chairs coordinate the opening ceremonies of COC and all indoor/outdoor decorations. The opening ceremonies are held in Humanities Plaza and consist of a live Nativity scene, the lighting of a 40-foot Christmas tree, and Santa’s Entrance. Indoor decorations consist of the interior of Kennedy Union and the Humanities Center. Co-Chairs select one ~40-foot Christmas tree from a donor in the Dayton area and coordinate the transportation of the tree to campus. Outdoor decorations also consist of lights, luminaries, large wreaths, and ice sculptures. Creativity, innovation, the ability to manage a large committee of volunteers is necessary.
Public Relations Committee
The Co-Chairs of the Publicity committee plan the two campus-wide General Meetings, Kickoff Day (held 30 days prior to COC) and Up the Orgs. Also, Co-Chairs design the official COC Program and help the coordinators maintain the COC website. Office hours are utilized to prepare fliers, letters, and other documents to publicize COC. Additionally, these co-chairs coordinate the annual House Decorating Contest in the Student Neighborhood and worker with publicity needs of the other committees.
The Hospitality Co-Chairs are responsible for designing and ordering the official Christmas on Campus t-shirt. They also receive all monetary and cookie donations for COC. Hospitality Co-Chairs coordinate the refreshments for the bus drivers and other volunteers on the evening of COC. They invite members of the Dayton community and UD alumni to COC and send thank you letters to the many individuals and organizations that make COC possible.
The Co-Chairs of the Transportation Committee work with the Dayton Public Schools and the Adoptions Committee to provide transportation for the Dayton Public School children to get to and from UD for COC. They also plan all traffic flow in C-Lot and on KU plaza. Transportation Co-Chairs work closely with Public Safety, ROTC, and volunteer bus proctors.
Mary Meg Gerbich
Get InvolvedChristmas on Campus could not take place without the involvement of students, faculty, and community members like you! There are many different ways to get involved in the preparation and celebration of Christmas on Campus. All members of UD community are invited and encouraged to take part in making this year’s celebration a reality.
You can be involved the following ways:
Become a COC Co-Chair
Decorate campus the weekend before Christmas on Campus
Bake cookies to be passed out to the children
Help clean up the day after the event
Adopt a child for the evening of COC
Volunteer your student organization to host a game at Ellie's Carnival in the RecPlex
Donate Hats and Mittens to the Hat and Mitten Drive
To get involved, stop by the Christmas on Campus office in KU 210, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.