RHA promotes ‘Spirit of Giving’

Tim Horneman

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The Residence Hall Association, along with various student organizations from across campus, is scheduled to celebrate the holiday season at the 17th Annual Miracle on Central Mall. This event will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday outside the St. Joan of Arc Chapel.

The event, which is expected to draw 150 to 200 students, includes the blessing, decoration and lighting of Marquette’s Christmas tree, caroling led by the choir and reflections on the theme for the year, said sophomore Amanda Michel, RHA representative for Straz Tower.

“Each year we have a theme, this year it’s the ‘Spirit of Giving,'” Michel said. “We’re emphasizing the power of giving and community service during the holiday season.”

Student organizations are creating an ornament to put on the Christmas tree by decorating the inside and/or outside of the ornament according to the theme. The plastic ornaments were provided by the LEAD Center, according to sophomore Andrew Doyle, who is chairing this year’s event.

Students and organizations can also become involved by donating to the Milwaukee Women’s Center, this year’s selected organization.

“We wanted to choose an organization that was in need for a brighter holiday season, and it’s a battered women’s shelter so there’s a lot of children and mothers that can best be served with our efforts,” said Rachel Davis, Straz Tower Hall director. “We ask that students and organizations donate items — such as toiletries — to the organization.”

RHA looked at many charities and organizations to support. Michel said that it was a hard decision to select only one organization.

“The community that the shelter serves is really in need of a bright holiday season,” she said.

Since 1980, the Milwaukee Women’s Center has been helping men, women and children confront domestic violence, substance abuse, poverty and mental health issues, and are in need of many personal items and toys for children, Doyle said.

RHA is encouraging organizations and students to donate diapers, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel, lotion, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, feminine products, shaving supplies, baby soap and baby shampoo. Holiday gifts for children of all ages — things like Fischer Price toys, teething rings, baby dolls, non-violent action figures, art supplies, Hot Wheels, board games, LEGOS, sports equipment, and gift certificates — are needed as well.

University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild will give the welcome address and blessing. Doyle and Dean of Residence Life Jim McMahon will follow with speeches entitled “Gifts of the Heart and Hand.” The ceremony is scheduled to conclude with the blessing and lighting of the tree, Michel said.

Davis said a reception with free hot chocolate, hot apple cider and holiday cookies will follow in the Raynor Library lobby. Donations will be placed around the Miracle Tree at the ceremony.

“We give each organization the opportunity to participate,” Davis said. “The event’s a great way to bring all campus groups together to celebrate the holiday spirit and give back to those in need.”,”Rikida N. Starace”

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