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UBC Reports | Vol. 46 | No. 20 | December 14, 2000

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 vegetarian dishes.

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 Christmas."

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 cookies.

"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 Alumni Association.

Tickets are available at International House, the front desk of all residences and the Lutheran Campus Centre.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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