Alumni pay it forward at Christmas

By Hannah Viertel ‘13

Author bio
City: New York City
Profession: Risk Manager
Favorite UD home: 428 Stonemill
UD Role: I love doing service and staying involved, so becoming the service chair for the NY Metro Alumni Community was a natural fit.

I was the Christmas on Campus co-chair at UD, and it was one of my favorite memories from campus. I love that we can continue the tradition and the spirit of the event off campus through our alumni communities. It allows alumni to meet one another and share a common experience, and it helps us all get into the Christmas spirit.

As the service chair for the NY Metro Alumni Community, I was in charge of planning our Christmas Off Campus event. What started as a planning committee of five turned into a great event attended by more than 40 alumni.

We hosted a Christmas party for young mothers and children who are at Covenant House as part of its short-term housing program. Alumni started the event with a prayer service and Christmas carols. Then, everyone played games with the children and helped with crafts.  We have done our COC event with the Covenant House for more than 20 years. I want to give a special shoutout to Joe Davis ‘60; he dresses as Santa for our event every year and brings joy to the children.

The event provided the children a Christmas experience they may not otherwise had the opportunity to enjoy. During the party, we provided Christmas presents for both the mothers and the children. For some, it may be the only holiday gifts they receive this year.

Staff at UD are very supportive and help us brainstorm ideas for the event. They understand that idea sharing is important, and they pass along feedback or tips from other alumni communities. We’re able to improve our event each year thanks to their help.

We do service and other events with alumni throughout the year, but Christmas Off Campus is one of everyone’s favorites. It’s a great way to connect with other alumni and give back to the community. It’s a family-friendly event, so it’s also a chance for many alumni to show their children the service tradition of UD. The University has a culture of community engagement and instills the importance of giving back. As alumni, we want to continue to pay it forward.


Christmas off Campus is a signature event for the University of Dayton Alumni Association. More than 30 alumni communities across the country celebrate the holiday season with local service events. To learn more about alumni volunteer opportunities, click here.

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