Tuesday October 16, 2007

New Date, Same Spirit

Christmas on Campus will move from its customary Dec. 8 date to Dec. 7.

The University of Dayton will move its annual Christmas on Campus to Dec. 7 to ease transportation schedules of the Dayton Public Schools and parents of the 800 children UD will host at the free, public event.

"We can assure you that the event's spirit and commitment to community service will never change," the Christmas on Campus committee said in a statement.

The committee, which is made up entirely of students, received feedback that scheduling bus drivers and getting children to designated pick-up sites have become increasingly difficult on weekends in recent years.

"The children already are at school during the week, so it makes sense to accommodate the children's schedules," the committee said. "Also, the event lasts well into the evening; so the date change ensures that children won't be out late on a school night."

As for the date for next year's event, the committee said that will be among the topics it will discuss in follow-up meetings evaluating this year's event.

Just like the past 43 years, Christmas on Campus will start at 6 p.m. with a live nativity scene and the tree lighting, which will take place in Humanities Plaza. It will end at 9:30 p.m. in the Frericks Center with a Mass celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

In between, the children navigate a winter wonderland of cartoon characters, games, dancing, singing, crafts, face-painting and Santa Claus.

The location of many activities changed last year because of campus construction and remain for this year. Children will arrive in C Lot, off of Evanston Avenue by RecPlex. The tree will stand in Humanities Plaza. The carnival is in the RecPlex. Activities formerly held in Miriam Hall will move to a tent near Kennedy Union and the Christmas tree.

The committee will release a complete schedule of events in November.

Ellie Kurtz, director of UD's student union from 1964 to 1994, started Christmas on Campus for a group of UD students who simply wanted to get together before heading home for the winter break.

Prior to this year, UD has held Christmas on Campus on Dec. 8, which is the official date of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Brian and Renai Lowry, co-presidents of the St. Louis UD alumni chapter, expanded the event by starting the first Christmas off Campus in 1990. Today, most of UD's 33 alumni chapters celebrate Christmas off Campus.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.