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Christmas decorations 12-2012 Larry Burgess

Christmas on Campus gifts leave lasting impression

8:55 AM  Dec 6th, 2012
by Audrey Starr

Of the 654 gifts handed out during UD’s Christmas on Campus in 2007, alumnus Charlie Bull’s favorite present wasn’t trimmed with a bow. His first Christmas on Campus year, said the 2011 grad, gave him the passion to pursue a career in education.

“You never know what a life-altering impact Christmas on Campus can have, both for the child and the college student,” Bull said. A Christmas on Campus meeting his first year inspired him to volunteer in local elementary schools, an experience that led to teaching as a profession.

A sixth-grade language arts/social studies teacher at Dayton’s DECA PREP, Bull wanted to ensure students at the school, which opened in August, had a chance to participate. He’s led the charge to get kids involved, answering questions from parents and students by the dozen. Do they ride the bus? (Yes.) Will Santa be there? (Yes.) What if it snows? (It adds to the magic.) A former adoptions committee co-chair, Bull said his is the easy part.

“The Christmas on Campus committee spends hundreds of hours planning for an event that is over in just three. These students balance classes, work, exams and other extracurricular activities, and have their share of sleepless, stressful nights,” he said. “When you see someone dressed up on Dec. 7, stop and say ‘thank you.’ It really does mean the world to the UD community and to our kids in the Dayton schools.”

Aside from the contagious excitement that comes from watching hundreds of 6- and 7-year-olds immersed in a holiday extravaganza, Bull praised the lasting effects of introducing these children to a college environment at an early age.

“My sixth-graders still talk about Christmas on Campus, and some of them even remember their UD student’s name,” Bull said. “Getting 1st– and 2nd-graders on a college campus, interacting with a college student as a mentor, is an invaluable experience.”

Read more about Christmas on Campus:
In “Merry and bright,” the campus anticipates a holiday transformation
In “Holiday happiness,” students stand in line, hoping to receive a child to shower with Christmas cheer
In “Santa? I know him!,” get the behind-the-scenes scoop on this year’s classic character.

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