Stu­dents ring bells to help raise money for the Sal­vation Army. Philip Berntson | Col­legian

As the days march closer and closer to Dec. 25, Hillsdale College seems to grow in holiday cheer. The Student Activ­ities Board has set up Christmas dec­o­ra­tions, pep­permint ice cream is gaining pop­u­larity at AJ’s Cafe, and stu­dents are adding holiday tunes to their study playlists.

However, stu­dents at Hillsdale are remem­bering that the holiday season is not just about the food and the music, but about giving back to the com­munity and the world. Stu­dents are con­tributing to a variety of unique oppor­tu­nities for charity and giving.

One such event is Oper­ation Christmas Child, easily rec­og­nizable for its boxes that weres stacked in the Student Union. Oper­ation Christmas Child col­lects boxes filled with toys and living essen­tials to give to children in need. One student has been par­tic­u­larly ener­getic in the quest for gift boxes.

I played Christmas music and talked to people as they walked by, making sure that they wouldn’t just ignore the table,” sophomore Rowan Macwan said. “I went around the union a few times just approaching people like sitting in AJ’s or by the big TV, telling people about Oper­ation Christmas Child and what a great thing it is to do.

In addition, Psi Chi, the psy­chology hon­orary, hosted its annual Giving Tree event. This pro­vided an oppor­tunity for stu­dents to sponsor children in the com­munity and give them Christmas gifts. The Giving Tree is affil­iated with Domestic Harmony, an orga­ni­zation that offers shelter for victims of domestic abuse. The event was a stunning success this year, securing sponsors for the 24 reg­is­tered children within one hour of its opening.

“These fam­ilies are very, very poor, and strug­gling to provide food and shelter,” junior and Psi Chi Phil­an­thropy Chair Lucille Townley said. “Extras like Christmas gifts are not an option. Giving Tree is a way to provide presents to children who would oth­erwise not receive them.”

One of the most exciting ways Hillsdale stu­dents are giving back is through the GOAL Christmas Party, which is held for children and their fam­ilies around the com­munity who are con­nected to Hillsdale’s GOAL program. Senior Kylie Diehl, the coor­di­nator for Buddy Reading, junior Haley Hauprich, who leads the Private School Tutoring ini­tiative, and sophomore Frances Wiese, who coor­di­nates Baggy Books, planned the event, fea­turing snacks and crafts, as well as a special appearance by Santa Claus himself.

One of the most unique and heart­warming ini­tia­tives at Hillsdale is Adopt-a-Grand­parent. Headed by junior Rachel Lozowski, Adopt-a-Grand­parent is a program in which Hillsdale stu­dents visit the elderly res­i­dents of Hillsdale Medical Care Facility once a week. To bring some holiday cheer to the res­i­dents this December, the student vol­un­teers plan to sing Christmas carols for the elderly res­i­dents.

Throughout the semester, there are group activ­ities such as car­oling, watching movies with the res­i­dents, and passing out cards to the res­i­dents,” Lozowski said. “Christmas car­oling is a won­derful way to bring joy to the res­i­dents and to show them that many young people truly care for them.”

Every December, one example of the remarkable tenacity and goodwill of Hillsdale stu­dents can be heard across campus, as stu­dents take shifts ringing a bell and asking for dona­tions to the Sal­vation Army. Parked in front of the library, these stu­dents brave the bitter winter cold in order to bring in charity for a good cause.

“Christmas is all about giving, but as college stu­dents, espe­cially Hillsdale College stu­dents, it is all too easy to become immersed in our own bubble and forget about the outside world,” said Townley. “Giving to the com­munity we live in, not just close family and friends, helps to open eyes and hearts to those around us and give to those who are really in need.”