A Great Dinner – or Two

Brittany Lovette, Reporter

Christmas cheer will spread further this year because high student interest in the annual Presidents’ Christmas Dinner forced organizers to provide separate celebrations for students according to class year.

The annual Christmas dinner will be split into two days, a process which started last year. The additional festivities were necessitated by the large number of students who wanted to attend to celebrate the holiday season. This year, however, the festivities will be divided according to class.

The dinner will be held for first years and sophomores on Dec. 8 and juniors and seniors on Dec. 9.

This dinner is a campus tradition.  Darcy Brodmerkel, Student Activities Coordinator, said she cannot guess how long the dinner has been celebrated because it has been in existence since she started working at the university years ago.

The discussion for the split between the two days began two years ago, but the new plan was enacted last year, Brodmerkel said. She wanted to see how the divided parties would go before she decided to continue.  She said there is not enough space to accommodate all student revelers in the Metz Dining Hall.

“We were going to try and it and then we figured we would just see how it went,” said Brodmerkel. “Then last year, I had to make it official to do it just because the population was too big.”

The demand for the dinner has grown along with increases in enrollment, but the necessary split is dampening the holiday spirit among some students who hoped to attend.  Junior Jasmine Mae Busi planned to celebrate the holiday with her sophomore brother.

“I understand that it is more practical to separate by class, but now I can’t go with my brother or any of my younger friends,” said Busi.

After looking at the numbers of attendees from the dinner last year, Brodmerkel considered separate dinner for the commuters.

“We looked at doing something separate just for the commuters and then have a dinner for the residents,” said Brodmerkel. “And you know we average quite a few commuters that show up and if we totaled up the days we never would be able to do it in one night.”

The final decision for splitting according to class came down to Student Government Executive Board and Brodmerkel after polling students.

“We polled a bunch of students and asked them what their opinions were and I thought that this was the best way to alleviate the problems,” said Brodmerkel.

But the problems continue because she said some students commit to attend and fail to show up.

“This is what the true problem is. People run in here, take the ticket, take the spot, and then they don’t show up. So last year for example, we had 77 no-shows,” said Brodmerkel.

The dinner is a first come, first serve event and those 77 seats could have been filled by others. Brodmerkel advises students who change their mind to return their tickets to Student Activities.

Brodmerkel plans to have a second line at the dinner in which students who failed to get tickets can wait to see if there are extra seats available.

While perhaps less festive, students can also go to dinner at the Cougar’s Den.

“The thing is that whatever we are serving, the turkey in the dining hall, they get that in the Cougar’s Den.  They just don’t get the whole ambiance of the special meal with their peers, getting dressed up, with the Christmas holiday spirit,” said Brodmerkel.

Though there are new changes to the President’s Christmas Dinner, there is one change that is definitely for the better, the annual canned food/non-perishable food drive.

According to Kristen Samuels, the Community Outreach Coordinator of Campus Ministry, the President’s Dinner will hold an annual food drive. The collection will benefit the Back Mountain Food Pantry and residents of the Noxen area.

With or without the changes, Brodmerkel wants this year’s Christmas dinner to be a great one – or two.

“We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,” Brodmerkel said.

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