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ISSUE 120 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 12/1/2006

Events offer opportunities for relaxation

By Stephanie Soucheray
News Editor

Friday, December 1, 2006

Though Christmas Festival may be the brightest and loudest holiday event on St. Olaf campus, many student organizations show "'tis the season" spirit with other activities and events geared toward student stress relief during finals.

As always, all 10 residence halls will have Christmas celebrations. In years past, residence halls have had various types of holiday parties, but one tradition remains consistent throughout campus: food for finals.

Pamela McDowell, director of residence life, is pleased with the food for finals program. "[It's] something that I haven't seen at a lot of colleges," McDowell said. "This is paid for by the hall councils - it is neat because during the busiest time of the year the staff and hall council take time to make a break for everyone else."

The InterHall Council always sponsors pictures with Santa Claus. This year, the photos will be taken in Buntrock Commons on Dec. 6, from 5 - 7 p.m.

The Student Activities Committee (SAC) hosts Finals Fun every year, a series of events meant to lower student stress and promote holiday cheer on campus.

"I love the different activities on campus," said Holly Browskowski '07. "Sometimes Christmas Festival overshadows all the other events on campus."

Some students, including Browskowski, see Buntrock Christmas decorations as ushering in the holiday season.

"I think the Christmas trees in the Buntrock Plaza are gorgeous; they're such a surprise when they appear each year," Browskowski said.

The Limestones Christmas concert kicks off Finals Fun on Saturday Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lion's Pause. Students can expect to hear the Limestone's St. Olaf-specific version of "Silver Bells."

On Reading Day, Wednesday, Dec. 13, SAC hosts a free Holiday Craft Project Fair from 11 a.m .- 4 p.m. in the Crossroads. On Dec. 14, SAC is hosting cookie decorating and gift wrapping, and on Dec. 15, students can get free massages from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the Crossroads.

"I think the food and activities in Crossroads are my favorite part of the holidays on campus," said Katie Henly '07. "And I appreciate the wreaths and garland that decorate Old Main and the lampposts around campus."

Some student organizations, like Volunteer Network (VN), use the holiday season to brainstorm new volunteer opportunities.

"Right now we're developing in VN a unique service opportunity that involves shoveling driveways in the winter months," said Victor Wong '08, Volunteer Network Assistant Coordinator.

Tentatively the program is called "Snow Ninjas," and Wong thinks its appeal lies in the "random act of kindness" aspect of the volunteer opportunity.

Still, some students appreciate the last few weeks of the semester simply for their hustle and bustle.

"My favorite holiday moment at St. Olaf is sitting in the Cage, and writing my term papers with the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" playing in my ear," said Neil Hutton '08.

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