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Winter Wonderland helps students destress, invites in South Bend community

| Monday, December 9, 2019

Every year leading up to winter break and finals week, the Student Activities Board (SAB) at Saint Mary’s hosts an event for children in the community and students to destress. Club president and senior Emma Freund helped make this year’s event possible.

“Winter Wonderland is one of SAB’s longest-standing events,” Freund said. “I’ve helped plan it during all four years of my time on SAB, and I’m sure it will go on for many years after I graduate.”

The event took place Saturday in the Reignbeaux Lounge. From 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., children from the community gathered for crafts, snacks and a visit from Santa. The second half of the event, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., was intended for the Saint Mary’s students, and included crafts, giveaways and a gingerbread house-building contest.

“This event was created to help students celebrate the holidays during the stressful end of the semester,” Freund said. “It’s always been SAB’s goal to create events where students can take a break to come enjoy some good food and quality time with friends. This is also the only event involving the South Bend community, so it is especially important for us to put in the work necessary to make it a wonderful event for the children.”

This year, around 150 children and over 300 Saint Mary’s students attended the event. Organizers had 300 hats to give away — and there were no left overs.

Setting up an event of this scale is not easy, Freund said.

“Winter Wonderland is such a significant event for SAB, and it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and hard work of every single one of our board members,” Freund said.

One of the board members, co-executive and junior Grace Nolan, helped with selecting the snacks and organizing the giveaways.

“We have been planning this event since Oktoberfest was over,” Nolan said. “So, we have been planning it for about the past seven weeks. However, it really only took us a week or two to get the food and giveaways ordered.”

Sophomore Lindsey Herdsman attended the event for her first time with her roommate and friends.

“The main reason I originally wanted to go was for the free hat and the food, which was Chick-fil-A,” Herdsman said.

Given all the activities available, Herdsman and her friends found that they stayed for much longer than they planned.

“Once I was there, I made decorated ornaments and ate some candy canes,” Herdsman said. “It was such a fun event, and really got me in the Christmas spirit. I would definitely want to go again next year.”

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