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The HPU Family Gives Back During the Holidays

Dec 21st, 2022

The HPU Family Gives Back During the Holidays

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 21, 2022 – It’s the season of giving on High Point University’s campus! Throughout the months of November and December, HPU students, faculty and staff hosted programs to benefit the local community and beyond. These efforts are part of the 500,000 hours of service and thousands of dollars that the HPU family contributes to local causes each year.

Community Christmas Drive

HPU Christmas Drive 1
Annual Christmas Drive

The Triad and surrounding communities are enjoying the sights and sounds of the season at High Point University’s Annual Community Christmas Drive, which kicked off on Monday, Dec. 19.

The drive is free and continues each night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. through Jan. 1. As guests enter, they’ll see the state’s tallest Christmas tree at 70 feet tall on the Roberts Hall lawn, as well as another tree standing at 64 feet tall by the Qubein Arena.

“Every year, we look forward to welcoming thousands of families and friends to our campus for the Christmas Drive,” says HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein. “This is one of many ways we celebrate the Christmas season and bring people together for joy and fellowship.”

During the drive, families will enjoy views of more than 100,000 Christmas lights, a life-size Nativity scene with more animals and shepherds than ever, 235 nutcrackers, ornaments that are 10 feet tall and other holiday decorations.

More than 30,000 people attended the drive last year.

Stuff a Stocking Campaign

HPU Stuff a Stocking campaign
Stuff a Stocking Campaign

For the 11th year, HPU’s Student Government Association and other HPU students shared the holiday spirit with senior citizens in the community by filling 1,000 stockings for the Stuff a Stocking Campaign at the Salvation Army of High Point.

Each stocking was filled with winter weather necessities such as socks, gloves, toboggans, chap stick and lotion, as well as activities like crossword puzzle books, playing cards, magnifying glasses, notebooks and colored pencils. Students also wrote messages on cards for each person.

“It’s always one of our most special traditions,” said Lizzy Eisenhardt, SGA president. “Around this time of year, it’s important to give back to your community. A lot of people are struggling, and we want to make sure everyone enjoys the holidays. Every year, we try to do more and give back as much as possible.”

The stockings were distributed to nine assisted living facilities and retirement communities.

Angel Tree Program

HPU Angel Tree Program and the Board of Stewards
Angel Tree Program

Continuing an annual tradition, HPU’s Board of Stewards raised more than $10,000 to purchase gifts for 100 childrenthrough the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. Together, the students purchased toys, clothes and necessities for children in the High Point community to receive on Christmas.

The Salvation Army provides Christmas gifts to more than 500 children during the holidays, and HPU students contribute to the Angel Tree Program every year. Children ranging in age from newborn to 12 years old will receive the gifts and extra toys purchased by students.

“Angel Tree is such a meaningful tradition for the Board of Stewards because we are able to provide Christmas gifts to 100 children in the local community who would otherwise not wake up to presents on Christmas morning,” said Ann Claire Edwards, a student and philanthropy chair for the Board of Stewards. “As a group, we really treasure spending time together praying and shopping for these children.”

Council for Exceptional Children ASPIRE Dance

HPU Special Pops Dance
Council for Exceptional Children Special Pops Dance

High Point University students and community members with disabilities danced the night away at the annual ASPIRE Christmas Dance on Dec. 6. The student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) at HPU co-hosted the special dance with the High Point Parks and Recreation’s ASPIRE (Adaptive Sports, Programs and Inclusive Recreation) unit.

The well-loved tradition between HPU’s CEC and the community invites people to get into the holiday spirit, build friendships and enjoy a night full of fun. Activities included dancing, crafts, gifts and a visit from Santa Claus at the Nathanael S. Morehead Recreation Center in High Point. The student organization has hosted this event and others over the last 16 years.

“The special populations dance is open to everyone and encourages community members and HPU students to come and celebrate everyone’s differences,” said Mary Fitzgerald, a junior psychology major. “This dance is important for students to attend because you make new connections and give back to our amazing community.”

The CEC will host another dance on Feb. 7 for Valentine’s Day.

Nido R. Qubein School of Communication Gift Donation 

High Point University Nido R. Qubein School of Communication
School of Communication’s Operation Elf

Faculty in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication helped local nonprofits provide gifts to families through their 10th annual Operation Elf tradition.

This year, they raised funds and purchased gifts for nearly 15 families through Family Services of Davidson County, Family Services of the Piedmont and the Guilford County Family Justice Center. Gifts included toys, books, clothes, personal items, sporting equipment and more. They also donated a variety of gift cards for families to use.

“My favorite part of the holidays is the tradition in the School of Communication of coming together to partner with local nonprofit agencies to buy gifts for families facing difficult times,” said Dr. Virginia McDermott, dean of the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication. “All of our holidays are so much better because we know we have helped make others’ holidays a little easier.”

This year, professors in the school recruited the deans of HPU’s academic schools and members of the Academic Leadership Council to help, too.

51st Annual Christmas Prayer Breakfast 

HPU Christmas Prayer Breakfas
HPU Christmas Prayer Breakfas

HPU welcomed more than 1,500 community members to the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center to kick off the holiday season for its 51st Annual Christmas Prayer Breakfast.

The Christmas Prayer Breakfast is one of HPU’s timeless Christmas traditions. Those in attendance enjoyed special music provided by the HPU Chapel Choir and Grammy award-winning singer David Phelps, and HPU’s Journalist in Residence Byron Pitts, co-anchor for ABC News’ “Nightline,” leading the invocation. Pastor Chris Hodges, the founding and senior pastor for Church of the Highlands, shared this year’s sermon, titled “Jesus at the Center.”

“What I like about the Nativity is it reminds us again what’s at the center, and that is Jesus,” said Hodges. “The secret to it is how this Nativity is set up. If your life isn’t working out right, maybe it’s not set up right. How your life is set up is going to determine how well your life works out. It’s very important that we know what’s at in the center of it.”

HPU’s Christmas Prayer Breakfast was supported by Digger Enterprises, Fence Builders, Inc., Johnson’s Modern Electric, River Landing at Sandy Ridge, Smith & Jennings, Inc. and the Haggai Prayer Breakfast Fund.

Communication Fellows Help Nonprofit Organizations Through Experiential Learning 

HPU Communication Fundraisers
Communication Fellows

High Point University’s Communication Fellows dedicated their fall colloquium in Dr. Arden Anderson’s class to designing and implementing events that benefit nonprofit organizations. In total, the students raised nearly $2,500 to support the organizations.

Students split up into four groups for the semester-long project that provided them with hands-on learning by creating a fundraising event and partnering closely with their chosen organization. The four organizations benefiting from the students’ efforts include Purple Heart Homes, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Piedmont and Open Door Ministries.

“This was such an amazing experience where I gained so many valuable skills and learned to collaborate with other students to give back to an organization that works to improve the lives of so many veterans,” said Liz Doyle, a student from Mooresville, North Carolina. “I feel as though this experience helped me grow as a sport management student because I was able to gain more experience working within different areas of our athletic department such as Panther Club, marketing and sales.”

Dr. Anderson, assistant professor of sport management, says students are responsible for all aspects of the event, including generating the event idea, assessing the need for the event, planning the marketing, promotion, finance and logistics, running the event and giving a final presentation on its success.

Professional Selling Club Turkey Donations

HPU Selling Club Donates Thanksgiving meals
HPU Professional Selling Club

Students in the Professional Selling Club gave back to the local community by raising nearly $4,000 to provide more than 100 Thanksgiving meals for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater High Point. Students filled boxes with turkey, corn, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy and a handwritten note.

This is the eighth year HPU’s Professional Selling Club has donated Thanksgiving meals to the community. The group, which also included members of HPU Men’s Lacrosse team and employees with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater High Point, joined forces on Nov. 18 to fill three buses with the Thanksgiving meals.

“It’s awesome to see how everyone in the club works together to make an event like this happen,” said Ben Smid, a junior and finance major. “A big part of High Point University is the commitment to give back to the community. This gives us an opportunity to get out of the classroom, get connected to student organizations and be part of something meaningful.”