Amidst the rush of holidays and first semester finals, students, faculty and staff find one evening in late November or early December to gather in the ballroom for the Annual Christmas Dinner.
A campus ministries organization known as “People for People” started the tradition in 1987. In its infancy, the dinner was a modest celebration for just a few dozen people. Since then, the event has grown to become a BVU Christmas tradition involving more than three-fourths of the BVU student population.
Preparations begin in early October with publicity, entertainment, program and volunteers. Resident advisors then begin collecting the name of attendees from their halls.
Everything ramps up a bit in the days prior to the dinner. Sodexho employees begin food preparation up to four days prior to the dinner. Much of the actual set up and organization takes place in the final hours before the students arrive for dinner. It is not until after lunch is finished at 2 p.m. that the ballroom is prepared and the staff sets the 120 table linens, 80 centerpieces and 960 glass goblets and folded napkins on the tables. The effort put into the dinner would not be possible without the 90 faculty and staff members who donate a combined 160 hours of their time to spend the evening pouring drinks, serving meals, clearing tables and cleaning up.
Aside from the meal, the tree lighting ceremony takes place at the dinner as well as the presentation of the Christmas gift to the campus.