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The holiday spirit has come to the journalism department at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

After what many would agree has been a challenging semester for students, faculty and staff decided to work together to create what they’re calling a “holiday workshop” with free gifts for the 160 students with a journalism major or minor.

“We are sharing simple gifts, like winter scarves and fun food items, candles and poinsettias,” said Sara Hansen, chair of the journalism department. “But the gift is much more than that because it carries an important heartfelt message. It says, ‘We care about you’ and ‘We know you are giving this your best’ and ‘You got this’ to students as they push themselves toward the finish line.”

Cindy Schultz, journalism’s academic department associate, said the faculty and staff typically host a potluck around the holidays and commencement for students, but decided to expand the celebration this time around.

“We thought we could share a simple gift for every student to warm their spirits and help them power through the end of the semester,” she said.

Students will be invited next week to select a gift from the workshop, which is set up in Room 3601 in Sage Hall. Some gifts were homemade or repurposed, others were purchased locally. Schultz and Hansen did the shopping with money donated by current and retired faculty and department staff.

“We have done several things to try and bring joy, compassion and caring to our students this semester,” Schultz said. “It has been a huge adjustment for them to be in class or on campus this semester while dealing with personal illness, familial issues and just the ins and outs of daily life.”

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