On Thursday, Dec. 9, Quinnipiac will host one of the most anticipated events of the winter: the 20h annual Holiday Dinner.
Alumni Hall will be transformed into a festive scene with lights, trees and “snow.”. Holiday-themed music and videos will be played throughout the evening, and Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as various other holiday figures, are expected to be in attendance. The theme this year is the “Holiday Express,” based on the popular children’s book-turned-motion picture “The Polar Express.”
The dinner, catered by Chartwells, will be held from 4:30 p.m. until approximately 7:00 p.m. It is open to all students.
This free, all-you-can-eat meal includes various menu items such as salad, pasta, steamship round (roast beef), roasted turkey, vegetables, dessert and beverages such as iced tea, water and cider.
This event is run by various members of the faculty and staff at Quinnipiac. Members of the planning committee include: Jill Martin, John Meriano, Suzanne Shaw, Mohammed Elahee, Alan Bruce, Chris Ball, Jill Shahverdian, Leann Spaulding, Kathy Solomon, Gina Grubb, Maria Bimonte, Dorothy Lauria, Cindy Greco and Michael Patrick. In addition, approximately 100 – 120 others volunteer their time to help run the dinner, doing everything from serving the food and drinks to clearing the tables.
Professor Jill Martin, committee member and chair of the legal studies department, feels the dinner is an important event for the Quinnipiac campus.
“It’s a real community event that everyone can participate in and everyone who participates really enjoys themselves,” Martin said. As well as students, she anticipates that many faculty and staff members from all ends of the campus will attend the dinner. This includes the secretarial and librarian staff, deans, those who work in the athletics and facilities departments, and a variety of others. President Lahey is also expected to attend this year’s dinner.
With finals just around the corner, Martin points to the dinner as a good way for students to de-stress.
“We know it is a stressful time of year for people and this is one way to relieve that stress,” Martin said.
This is one of the various reasons the idea of the Holiday Dinner was developed. “It was created to have a good, festive atmosphere before exams began so students could interact with friends, faculty and staff, and relax and enjoy themselves,” Martin said.
Martin enjoys all the work she puts into planning the Holiday Dinner and finds it rewarding to see how many students, faculty and staff positively react to the event. “Everyone involved has a good time. Students really seem to enjoy themselves,” she said.
Students anxiously wait for the event each year, and are appreciative of the effort put into the dinner.
“It’s a great idea because it brings together QU students, faculty and staff right before the break,” Jeff Blanchet, senior broadcast journalism major, said.
“It’s always a grand and festive time for all us students,” John Towle, senior accounting major, said.
Since it began 20 years ago, the Holiday Dinner is becoming more and more popular. It was originally set up in the cafeteria, but has since been relocated to Alumni Hall because of the large number of students (approximately 1,500) who attend the event each year.
“It sounds like a fun time, plus it’s not the same old cafeteria food,” first-time attendee Amanda Reynolds, freshman sociology major, said.
Martin encourages freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors alike to take advantage of this event and make it an evening worth remembering.
Tickets are available on Dec. 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for students with meal plans, and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for students without. On Dec. 7, tickets are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.