The 12 Days of Christmas celebration
’Twas the month before Christmas, when all through South Bend, the students were growing anxious for the semester to end. But amongst the presents to buy and the papers to write, the true meaning of the season was not far from their sight.
And so went the story of the 12 Days of Christmas celebration at Saint Mary’s College this December. This annual celebration brings together various Saint Mary’s offices and student groups—among them the Office for Civic and Social Engagement, the Student Activities Board, and Campus Ministry—for the common purpose of sharing holiday joy both on campus and in the wider community.
The common thread for the 12 Days was the Office for Civic and Social Engagement’s (OCSE) Adopt-A-Family program. All members of the Saint Mary’s community, whether student groups, athletic teams, faculty and staff departments, or individuals were able to participate by purchasing and wrapping gifts and food for nearly 20 community families in need. Proceeds from other events during the two weeks, such as the Christmas Bake Sale and the Ugly Sweater Wiffle Ball Tournament, also went toward the Adopt-A-Family program.
On December 7, the Student Activities Board and Co-Campus, an organization with representatives from area universities and colleges, hosted the fourth annual Winter Wonderland, a Christmas event for children from South Bend public schools, the Center for the Homeless, and Robinson Community Learning Center. College employees were invited to bring their kids to the event. At least 50 South Bend area families came out for the event.
Doris Komisarek, mother of Saint Mary’s lacrosse coach Amy Long, brought her seven-year-old grandson Cooper Komisarek. Out of all the activities, which included cookie decorating, visiting with Santa, and ornament making, Cooper most enjoyed the painting crafts. He painted an ornament and a picture frame for his grandma to display in her home.
“It’s great that the Saint Mary’s students do this for the South Bend community,” says Komisarek. “It brings families and their kids onto a college campus and gets everyone thinking about college as a possible part of the children’s futures.”
Another event, Carols and Cookies, involved performances by both the Ministry Choir and Bell Choir as students enjoyed sweet treats for a pre-finals week break. “I think the event helps students remember that, even in the chaos of the end of the semester, this is a magical season…It’s a wonderful morale booster,” says senior and Bell Choir member Julie Beth Gillespie.
On December 11, OSCE sponsored a campus-wide Blood Drive. Jessica Bulosan ’09, assistant director of the office, says, “the blood collected during the drive stays in Michiana and helps the community that way and then the South Bend Medical Foundation in turn donates to Adopt-A-Family.” Junior Shannon Swartz was among those who gave blood. “Good health is a blessing,” she says, “and it’s important to remember those who might not have that blessing at this moment. Giving at Christmastime offers an extra reminder of why we help others.” And that’s what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about, the joys of giving and having fun.
~Mackenzie Woods ’15