Christmas traditions continue at Mercyhust

Phuong Nguyen, Staff writer

On Monday, Dec. 7, many of Mercyhurt’s organizations will come together to host “Miracle on 38th Street” and give refugee children their first Christmas experience at Mercyhurst.

Two agencies, the House of Mercy and Booker T Washington Center, will transport the kids to Mercyhurst by bus.

Many of those children are refugees and have never experienced Christmas before. This gives children the opportunity to experience the holiday. The event will be held in the Carolyn Hermann Student Union from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Mercyhurst’s Reading Day.

Among the groups involved are the Multicultural Activity Council, Service Learning, Campus Ministry and the Campus Involvement Center.

Preston Reilly, activities and spirit coordinator, has been part of the event for the past four years. Before he started at Mercyhurst the event was formerly known as “Christmas on Campus.”

The first year he took over, Campus Involvement Center rebranded it as “Miracle on 38th Street,” but the tradition is the same as it has always been.

“The thing I love the most about this event is the chance for Mercyhurst students to give back to Erie community without leaving the campus. We bring the community to them, everything will happen right here,” Reilly said.

This year, although the exact number of children remains unknown, the goal is to have 13 children and allow approximately 60 students to sign up for the event. Last year, students filled the spots in half an hour. Two weeks ago, seven academic clubs and service organizations on campus filled up the spots in 48 hours.

“It was filled up really quickly, which is really cool to see so many students want to give back to the community. Students look forward to it, which is my favorite part of this Mercyhurst tradition. It will be a lot of fun, especially right before finals week,” Reilly said.

Each child will be matched up with two college students to do arts, crafts and other activities. Each club will have a different craft for the children at their tables. They also have holiday cookie decorating, Christmas carols, a dance performance and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will visit and read books. The kids will go home with presents and their crafts.

The Campus Involvement Center will send out the details of the event on The Weekender and students can stop by the Campus Involvement Center Office to sign up.
Mercyhurst Student Government will hold “Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony” on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Union, where professors and students will light the Christmas tree together. During that time, some clubs will have other smaller Christmas trees out to decorate and put lights on.

“We try to get bunch of clubs to collaborate and engage to create a sense of community. We probably have 15 trees and it will be first come, first serve basis,” said Caleb Ohmer, MSG president.

MSG vice president Park Bogan contacted club presidents about the Christmas tree decorating contest.

The clubs will decorate their trees beforehand and then students will vote on the day of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. First, second and third place winners will get gift card prizes. Food, coffee and hot chocolate will be served, along with Alice Edwards, Ph.D., speaking to the crowd on the importance of the year.