Dinner aims to make student spirits bright
Volunteers hold a holiday feast for students from abroad or on campus
by Daria Wojnarski staff writer
A Christmas dinner for students is just around the corner, but get your
tickets early. Last year students were turned away from the popular event.
The eighth annual UBC Christmas Dinner takes place Friday, Dec. 22.
There will be two sittings of 110 students each at International House. The
first sitting is at 1 p.m., the second at 3 p.m. Tickets are $2.
Rev. Bill Wiegert, chaplain at the Lutheran Campus Centre and one of the
organizers, says the dinner is open to any student on campus during the holiday
season, although most of the students are from overseas.
"We also have quite a few students with children who attend," he says.
The dinner includes the traditional turkey with all its trimmings and
Wiegert praises all 40 volunteers who help make the event successful, but his
highest praise is for Ollie Whitcutt, 71, who each year arrives at
International House at 5 a.m. to put the turkeys in the oven. The day before,
along with other volunteers, Whitcutt is peeling and cutting vegetables.
"It's a very selfish thing because I get such a good feeling out of it even
though I'm bone tired at the end of the day. I've always enjoyed working with
young people," says the retired teacher. "Giving is such a big part of
Whitcutt says the generosity of her friends who gather the night before to make
stuffing and help cook the dinner is also appreciated.
"We don't throw anything away. If there's something left it goes to the
volunteers or to a mission downtown."
Feeding all the students requires about 65 kilograms of turkey rolls. This year
the Alma Mater Society is donating the turkey, along with the ingredients to
make a green punch. UBC Food Services provides the squares and
"Usually it costs about $900 to put on the dinner, but this year it'll be less
because the turkeys are being donated," says Wiegert.
After students have enjoyed their Christmas dinner, they go to another floor
and sing carols. Prizes such as sweatshirts, long-distance phone certificates
and chocolate are handed out.
The tradition began eight years ago after someone in Student Services mentioned
to Wiegert that students staying on campus during the holidays often had no
holiday dinner to go to.
"So I said isn't there something we can do for these students to make them feel
more welcome," says Wiegert. "As a result, a committee was formed and the first
dinner was held."
One student from South Korea who has attended the event for the last two years
and plans to go again this year, says it's the best deal in town and generates
a great feeling of community.
Other organizers of the dinner this year include Counselling Services, the
Disability Resource Centre, Housing and Conferences, Student Health Services,
International Student Services, the Women Students' Office and UBC Chaplains. Donations were also made by the Alma Mater Society and the
Tickets are available at International House, the front desk of all residences
and the Lutheran Campus Centre.