The holiday giving tradition starts early at Xavier and revs up through the Christmas break. The idea of giving at Xavier means doing for others and is a natural part of the Xavier experience.
As members of a Jesuit university, engaging in community service is a vital part of learning and fulfilling our mission. As President Michael J. Graham, S.J., reflects, "Service is what prayer looks like when it gets up off its knees and walks around in the world."
Here is a round-up of some of the more impactful holiday service and giving projects led by Xavier student clubs and organizations:
- A Xavier Christmas Club
Tuesday, Dec. 4, was the annual A Xavier Christmas event hosted by the A Xavier Christmas Club which brings schoolchildren to campus to celebrate, meet Santa and light the Xavier Christmas tree.
Club co-chair Becky Hagedorn said over 180 Xavier students, including members of the Xavier basketball teams, pictured above, participated in giving 30 children a special Xavier Christmas experience that included pizza, hot chocolate, cookies, carols, crafts and games, story-telling, a Nativity scene and Santa. The children came from four local elementary schools, and each received a hat, scarf and gloves donated by Tri-Health.
Led by Resident Assistant Emmanuel Ohiomah, a group of seven X-Men held a food drive on Nov. 17 for about 20 families living in an affordable housing development in Walnut Hills managed by Episcopal Retirement Services. The young men were inspired by an X-Men program organized by Taj Smith, director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, about the importance of men's involvement in service work. X-Men participating included: Mell Nnamani, Desmond Varner, Calvin Hill, Leo Asong, Baffour Aboagye-Adjei, Ryan Biack and Sahr Marrah.
Says Ohiomah: “I was particularly interested in distributing rather than donating so that the boys would get the opportunity to engage with the people they are helping and see firsthand the effect they are making in the community, an enactment of Xavier's Jesuit values of being for and with others through service.”
- Pershing Angels
The Pershing Rifles student group in the Xavier Army ROTC program worked with Angel Tree to buy Christmas presents for families in need during the holiday season. Many of the children in these families are patients at Children’s Hospital Medical Center or have parents who are incarcerated. From Nov. 28 to Nov. 30, the 28 Pershing members invited Xavier students to sponsor a child and were able to match 50 children with a Xavier student.
Says Pershing Rifles member Kate Jackson, pictured above, far right: “The Pershing Rifles is a service-based military fraternity focusing on service and drill and ceremony. It is important for our organization to stress the value in service not only for our country, but for every member of the community.”
- Greek Life
The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Xavier chapter, pictured above, did a community service project recently at Evanston Academy, playing games and doing arts and crafts with schoolchildren who stay after school. Also the Pi Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., served Thanksgiving dinner to over 50 families at Greater Emmanuel Apostolic Church with alumni chapter Epsilon Lambda Sigma.
On Thursday, Nov. 29, G.O.A.L. (Gentlemen Organized for Achievement and Leadership) completed their annual GOAL Serves the City service project by making bagged sandwich dinners to distribute to homeless people around Fountain Square downtown.
- Club Sports
About 124 members on all 26 Club Sports teams helped collect donations and shop for nine families in need through a partnership with the Academy of World Languages. The students, including softball players Sarah Lemay, Georgia Cooper and Ellie Essler above, wanted to support these families to provide holiday gifts they would not be able to afford otherwise.
This is Club Sports’ second year partnering with AWL. The partnership was formed last year by graduating senior Maddie Dulle, and the student executive board carried on the project this year. They are Joe Laughlin, Mary Elizabeth DeWitt, Nicole Armour and Julia Schlich.
- Student Athletes
The Xavier University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (Xavier SAAC) gathered $960 in donations from student athletes for a family in the St. Vincent DePaul "Adopt-A-Family" program. They also spent time with kids from the Academy of World Languages during their holiday celebration.