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Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's Class Gift Campaign sponsors ghost stories event

Riedinger House at Saint Mary’s was full of mystery while stories from “Quiet Hours: Revealing the Mysteries” were shared over hot apple cider and doughnuts. “Quiet Hours” is a collection of ghost stories written by three Saint Mary's alumnae.

The event was sponsored by the Saint Mary's Class Gift Campaign. Senior Maura Newell, co-chair for the Class Gift Campaign, and Sierra Jacob, assistant director of the Class Gift Campaign, said that the event has become a bit of a Saint Mary's tradition. Class Gift Campaign opened up the doors of the usually mysterious Riedinger House in the hopes of raising awareness for philanthropy on campus, they said.

“People always wonder ‘what’s in that house,’ so just an opportunity to open up a little about the history of Saint Mary’s,” Jacob said.

The house was built with donations to the College, and was intended for educational purposes by offering home economics majors the chance to run a mock household. Now, the house is mostly used to entertain visitors to campus. In the brief moments during the event, the house was returned to its former educational purpose and served as an example for giving, Jacob said.

“This fall we are trying to create awareness around philanthropy. Did you know that your tuition is reduced because donors give back to the college each year?” Jacob said.

Jacob said the event was not meant to raise funds, but to raise awareness.

“We are just trying to create awareness, and then donor challenge is ... where students donate in order to help us reach certain goals,” Jacob said.

The event means to create awareness in the hopes of gaining contributors for the Class Gift Campaign, which enables current students to give back to the Saint Mary’s community.

“One of the goals of Class Gift Campaign is to increase awareness of students towards philanthropy and trying to get students to give, so this is one of our events that raises awareness for what we do,” Newell said.

Both Newell and Jacobs put effort into planning and organizing the event, but many other people including their committees and other organizations also helped to bring it all together.

“While planning the event we worked with residence life, and [resident assistants] and [hall directors] read ghost stories from ‘Quiet Hours,’ ... we organized the space, we have it catered, we have doughnuts and cookies and hot chocolate and cider so kind of a fun event in the spirit of fall and Halloween,” Jacobs said

The book that they read from is a collection of ghost stories from students while they were at Saint Mary’s. It helps to share stories about the community across generations of Saint Mary’s students, Newell said.

“I think it is fun to see how interested [students are] in learning more about Saint Mary’s and hear the stories of Saint Mary’s,” Newell said.

The event is not only educational about Saint Mary’s history and about how students can get involved in the future, but also about building community in the present. It helps students to connect across age and interest divides in a common history and cause, Jacob said.

“I think it is an opportunity for people to be together to occupy the same space: different years, different majors, the Office of Residence Life, Phonathon and student giving,” Jacob said.

Jacob said she hopes that the event plays a part in the positivity of the Saint Mary’s experience and helps students to realize the community they are a part of.

“Cultivating community and create a memorable event that when you are looking back at your time at your Saint Mary’s experience maybe that is something that sticks out,” she said.

The event also had the simple draw of entertainment, Newell said.

“Bonding and telling stories and sitting around in a little house is really fun for students,” Newell said.

The event has the greater motive of gaining donors for the Saint Mary’s fund, which is returned to the community and the campus almost immediately, Jacob said.

“If you donate to the Saint Mary’s fund, it is the greatest impact on campus. It essentially goes to whatever the college needs most,” Jacob said.