Santa Claus stopped by the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Goshen Lounge Thursday, Dec. 6 to hear Christmas wishes, bring holiday cheer and take selfies with students, faculty and staff.
The SIUE Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) hosted Santa’s visit. SIUE’s personal contact with the North Pole was Dominic Dorsey II, director of Accessible Campus Community and Equitable Student Support (ACCESS).
“I want a black dump truck,” 4-year-old Charles Johnson told Santa. Charles is the son of junior Tyrone Johnson, who is majoring in exercise science.
“It was a surprise to see Santa at SIUE,” said Johnson, “but then Santa goes everywhere.”
“This can be a stressful time for us all with it being the end of the semester and final exams approaching. Having an African-American Santa visit us today brought holiday cheer along with a demonstration of our commitment to diversity,” said Lakesha Butler, PharmD, BFSA president, and clinical professor in the School of Pharmacy. “It especially warmed my heart to hear several students say this was their first encounter with a Black Santa.”
“I thought it was fun. It was a creative way for us students to interact with faculty and staff,” said LaShata’ Grayson, graduate student majoring in College Student Personnel Administration. “This is also a good way for SIUE to further show we are family oriented. Also, as an African American student, I appreciated having a Black Santa. It shows diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Throughout Santa’s visit, helpers passed out cookies, hot chocolate and study final tips that included:
• Prioritize your study time
• Stay well-rested
• Pace yourself
Four-year-old Charles Johnson, son of SIUE junior Tyrone Johnson, talks to Santa.
Greeting Santa are (L-R) Tarsha Moore, assistant director of the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion; Jessica Harris, PhD, interim assistant provost; BFSA President Lakesha Butler, Pharm D, and clinical professor in the School of Pharmacy; and Kathryn Bentley, director of the Black Studies program and associate professor in the Department of Theater and Dance.
With Santa are graduate students from the Kimmel Student Involvement Center (L-R) Kimberly Pope and LaShata’ Grayson.
Females of African-American Descent Modeling Excellence (FAME) pose with Santa.