Davidson College Welcomes a Season of Celebration and Study
December 11, 2000
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org
December 11, 2000
Holiday events at Davidson provide a festive break for students preparing for first semester exams. The two prevailing campus moods are evident in stockings hanging from residence hall doorknobs, and capacity crowds in the library late into the night.
Davidson College students celebrate many things between Thanksgiving and Christmas; just one of them is the freedom allowed by the Honor Code to take exams on individual schedules. The Davidson academic calendar provides ten or eleven three-hour examination periods during which students may take exams on a self-scheduled basis. Students pick up an exam in a central location in the Chambers Building, take it in a classroom during the prescribed time period, and return it by the end of that session. Professors pick up exams at the end of each day. Although nothing can eliminate the stress of end-of-semester work, such a schedule allows fuller participation in the campus and town holiday traditions--a great stress-buster.
Davidson merchants kicked off the season with the traditional "Christmas in Davidson," a three-evening downtown festival November 29-December 1. Town and gown mingled on Main Street from 6:30-9 each evening, with tinkling bells on horse-drawn carriages and choirs of musicians making music for shopping and strolling.
A more somber, yet beautiful, sparkle lit the campus on that Thursday evening, as students lined walkways with a thousand luminaries bearing the red AIDS symbol, in memory of victims of the disease.
The College Union's campus Christmas party on December 3 featured the Alternative Gifts Fair, where shoppers could purchase service gifts for those in need around the world. Student organizer Cader Howard '02 reported that the event raised more than $6,000, and it was featured in a Charlotte Observer article. While faculty, staff, and college neighbors browsed, their children visited with Santa and decorated sugar cookies in the 900 Room.
The day concluded with the splendor of Christmas Vespers, an offering of music and scripture lessons to the community in Davidson College Presbyterian Church. The seating was shoulder-to-shoulder in the pews, as instrumentalists and vocalists filled the sanctuary with music.
The campus gathered again in front of Chambers for festivities on Tuesday evening, December 5. Students lit the night with hand-held candles, and warded off the cold with hot chocolate and gingerbread men. As they sang carols, Santa and Mrs. Claus rappelled down the front of Chambers and tossed candy canes from the back of a golf cart. The evening concluded with the lighting of the huge cedars on either side of the building, and peeling church bells.
Mrs. Claus, Anna Padget '01, talked about the importance of celebration in The Davidsonian. "Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the festivities the school puts on give everyone a chance to celebrate something before finals begin. It builds a community tradition based on fun and imagination, rather than entirely on religion. Whether it's personally Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or Christmas, I hope everyone feels welcome to come celebrate the season."
The community embraced another opportunity for holiday giving through a unique service project dubbed "Snug in Their Beds." The residence life office initiated the effort with the donation of forty beds to families in the Davidson area. They invited individuals and offices to outfit the beds with a comforter or quilt, sheets, mattress pad, pillow, and pillow case.
On December 7 volunteers gathered on Chambers lawn to clean and assemble the beds, and collect the accompanying linens. Students also made cards for the individuals receiving the beds. That college initiative was also featured in the Charlotte Observer.
Newly energized with holiday cheer, students focused on their studies once again with finals kicking into high gear on Friday, December 8. As the semester draws to a close, they will head home eager to share stories of December at Davidson and the way the month's activities weave together academics and community.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by "U.S. News and World Report" magazine.