The Idaho Commons buzzed Dec. 1 as two University of Idaho organizations threw events to extend holiday cheer to students and faculty.
In the Cedar Grove Room, students could snap a free picture with the mascot of Christmas himself — Santa Claus.
UI Career Services orchestrated the event in an effort to reach out to students who may not be aware of the services they provide to both students and alumni.
The duties and honor of portraying jolly St. Nicholas fell on Junior Dinko Garibovic. Although this was the first time Garibovic ever acted as Santa Claus, he felt well pre- pared for the job.
“I watched a few Christmas movies just to get the voice down,” he said.
But he was concerned the rush of college students wanting a picture with Santa would ruin his chance to ask students what they want for Christmas.
Jamie Garlinghouse, a Career Services employee relation specialist, orchestrated the event.
“This has been one of our traditions. We really like the time of year it happens because it’s right before finals and people are needing a break from studying,” she said. “It’s a chance to put your hair down before the semester ends.”
Garlinghouse found the event to be an exciting opportunity to bring some holiday cheer to the Idaho Commons.
“I think for me Santa represents being jolly and happy and spreading good cheer. Almost an ambassador of goodwill,” she said.
While Garibovic was busy taking pictures with students, the Vandaleers, a UI student choir, sang Christmas carols.
“Every year, the Vandaleers try and take some of our music and get out of the walls of the music department. We usually perform in the rotunda for the enjoyment of students and faculty,” said Director of choral activi- ties, Michael Murphy. “We were asked to be a part of a holiday greeting with President Staben and Doctor Mary Beth Staben.”
During the Vandaleers’ performance, several photographers captured the group as passersby stopped, listened and took photos. The university Marketing Department was there to capture the event for the UI holiday promo.
After the Vandaleers sang a rousing rendition of the Vandal fight song, Staben gave a message of holiday cheer to those listening live and on camera.
As cameras rolled and other Vandals listened, President Staben said, “From our Vandal family to yours, happy holidays.”
“Holidays are special and we want every- one to celebrate along with us,” Staben said. “It’s important that people celebrate the university. Mary Beth and I can be very visible proponents of the university. I think it’s a really fun way to make the university visible to the alumni, our friends, the students, and our staff and faculty.”
Sam Balas can be reached at email@example.com