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Campus Holiday Traditions

Do you have fellow Iowa ACAC members close to your office from another college?  Looking to start a holiday tradition?  Why re-invent the wheel; just follow in the footsteps of the Kirkwood Community College Eagles and the Mount Mercy University Mustangs.  Each December they compete for the “StangEagle” Award to see which Admissions Office has the best bowlers. As you can see from the picture, the trophy resides at Kirkwood…which side of the Cedar River will the trophy call home for 2018??  Stay tuned!

Here are other great holiday traditions that we found in Admissions Office’s around the state:

Cornell College

The staff all decorate the office Christmas tree together the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, while listening to Christmas music together.

Mount Mercy University

Mount Mercy University Admissions rotates their holiday traditions each year from a Secret Santa to a White Elephant gift exchange. Past Government Relations Chair Josh D’Amico looks forward to this every year! Rumor is there may be some pink cowboy boots in the works for someone.  After the Secret Santas are revealed, or gifts exchanged, they proceed to the previous stated competition with Kirkwood.

Mercy College of Health Sciences

Mercy College of Health Sciences kicks off the Advent season with a Christmas tree lighting followed by a Staff Christmas party each year. The Student Services Office also hosts a stress-less event with food, games and fun. The most popular event is the visit from the pet therapy animals for an afternoon. The Admissions Office also has a Christmas tree that is put up every year that has affectionately been named “Blingin’ Bonnie”.  


Throughout the year, Wartburg has Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas parties for students, where they bring in treats or crockpot dishes for them and have games like Pie in the Face and Minute to Win It with prizes. Each winter, the office has a Christmas party with ornament and cookie decorating and a photo booth. The admissions office has a Secret Santa, and they all go out together for lunch or dinner.

University of Dubuque

The office hosts a Christmas party for their Spartan Ambassador Association each year to spend some time celebrating with their ambassadors that work so hard throughout the year. Each year the students choose a theme; previous themes have included Disney characters, movie and TV show characters, and ugly sweaters! Music is played by one of the counselors, a buffet style meal is served by the UD food service staff, and the team leaders put on a skit. The whole group plays lots of holiday games, and each student gets a nice ambassador gift they can wear all year long!

Everyone attends the lighting of the Blue 'Bruce' Spruce on the Quad. The Blue Spruce on our quad turned 20 years old this year. It was donated by UD’s interim president at the time Bruce Merriweather. Each year, since it has been planted, we have a yearly advent and tree lighting ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas holiday on campus. Admission counselor Shauna Schmitt says, “It’s one of my favorites because the international students who do not celebrate Christmas, still come and take part in one of our holiday traditions!”

The yearly UD Christmas Gala is one of the campuses most cherished events. The date is always the Friday following finals. It is a time for all of UD’s faculty, staff, and friends of the college to come together and celebrate the holiday season and the success of the semester. It is a very formal event with everyone dressing in their holiday’s finest clothing with all the food, drinks, and deserts anyone could think of. There’s dancing and mingling among all who come!

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