PLATTEVILLE — In 1973, students who lived in UW–Platteville’s Wilgus Hall decided to have a Christmas party for children from low-income families who might not otherwise get much of a Christmas.
The 40th Wilgus Hall Christmas Party will be held Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
“This year we’re hoping for around 40, if not 50,” children, said Brianna Hardginski, the Wilgus Hall senior assistant and an education major from Menasha. “It’s really exciting to see how it’s grown.”
Despite the fact that theoretically one-fourth of those putting on the party leave due to graduation each year, the party has grown because of what Hardginski calls “meticulous recording … a lot of very careful recording — this is what I did three weeks out, this is what I did two weeks out.
“There’s a lot of room for creativity and flexibility. It’s amazing how quickly you can transfer a residence hall basement into something festive.”
The Wilgus Hall students work with the Platteville School District’s social worker to identify students who could be invited. The students’ parents receive cards asking for something the child needs and something the child would want. The goal is to spend about $50 per child.
The party will include “fun kind of holiday-themed games … not specific to one holiday,” she said, including action games. Cookie decorating and coloring will also take place. An auction and raffle with gift cards will be offered to adults.
Hardginski is participating in her fourth Wilgus Hall party as a UWP student.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is the staff motivation and getting the [resident assistants] to participate,” she said. “This year we reached out to other residence halls,” creating Giving Trees for each residence hall. “Seeing a little bit more campuswide participation has been really cool.”
The party could use more donations. “Obviously we’re a bunch of college students trying to put together a program in the area, and it’s hard for us to scrounge up some funds,” said Hardginski.
Donations can be sent to Wilgus Hall, 1100 Greenwood Ave., Platteville, WI 53818. For more information, go to the UW–Platteville Residence Life home page.