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Holiday cheer came early this year to the freshman students of Clemens Hall.

On Dec. 3, every student in the hall received a care package — either from parents or sponsors on campus — that contained snacks, clothing, gift cards and more.

Senior Carolyn Green, of Racine, a second-year community adviser (CA) in Clemens, was determined to contact parents and make their children’s first finals a little less stressful.

“It is an incredibly different feeling when it’s your first finals week,” Green said. “People don’t know what to expect, and may have a lot riding on these exams.”

Green started planning the event in October with the help of Clemens residence hall director Ashlie Kohl and sent letters out to parents in November. Kohl also agreed to have the packages sent to her address, so the students wouldn’t receive them early and ruin the surprise.

The tradition started when the entire Clemens staff took part in a similar program last year. Green thought it went well and wanted to repeat it.

“I wanted there to be a fun event for them, to take their minds off of books, if only for an hour or two,” Green said.

During the activities, the 129 students colored pictures and tumbled in sumo-wrestling costumes. There also were balloons and Bubble Wrap to pop to relieve stress. Professor Thomas Lammers came in to give some tips on stress relief and studying.
Staff members surprised the students with their care packages, about which most knew nothing.

“That was my favorite part,” Green said. “Their faces just lit up when we called their names and handed them a package.”

The entire Clemens Hall staff helped in the preparation of the program. The event was sponsored by United Students in Residence Halls (USRH), the Student Conduct Team and the Clemens Hall Government.

“I’ve really got to hand it to Carolyn. She did an amazing job with the program,” Kohl said. “I think this event really made a difference to these students.”