As the winter holidays approach, Hastings College offers a solution for the holiday dilemma of buying gifts on a student budget. Since November, five events have been hosted with the goal of encouraging students to learn new skills while giving them the opportunity to create unique gifts for family and friends.
This series of events started with a Pinterest craft-themed night, following with knitting and macrame nights, a cookie ingredient jar making night and a shopping trip to Lincoln. The final holiday gift night is scheduled for tomorrow where attendees will receive instructions on jewlery making.
“A complaint that has existed as long as college has is that college kids don’t have any money, and we were talking about things we could get on the schedule. As a way of replacing spending money you don’t have, we implemented this six-part series of holiday gift-making events,” said Coordinator of Student Activities Beth Simoens.
The inspiration for these events came from considering what other colleges have been doing, but most of the themes have been the result of HC personnel using their own skills and connections to make creative hobbies more accessible to students with small budgets.
“It was just a matter of breaking down the barriers of getting into these activities so that it’s more accessible to students. A lot of these things, once you know the basics, you can continue once you get going,” Simoens said.
The first Pinterest night was researched by Juniors Mackenzie Waltemath and Hannah Langer of the Student Association, during which students were provided with materials to make hanging succulents, scrabble tile coasters, mason jar snow globes and painting tiles.
“It’s something a couple programming board people came up with, and it’s money that came out of SA since it’s something that appeals to all students and that’s what the funding is there for. Their original idea was to do a Pinterest night, since that’s something that we’ve seen other colleges doing,” Simoens said.
The macrame night was proposed by Student Association Vice President Maggie Rogers, and Simoens hosted the knitting night. The cookie jar-making night was held on Dec. 4, which was National Cookie Day, alongside the gingerbread house competition.
The jewelry soldering night tomorrow will be taught by a friend of Dr. Lisa Smith, Dean of Student Engagement.
“We like to pull in a lot of different aspects so we’re not appealing to the same people every time,” Simoens said.
Other than the Pinterest night that was hosted the Monday before Thanksgiving break, the events have had a good turnout, according to Simoens. It is possible that a similar series of events will be hosted next year with different themed nights, while events with a more relaxing focus are planned for the final week of the fall semester.