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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

President Freeman connects students, staff at holiday gathering

Sean Reed
NIU President Lisa Freeman and Executive Assistant Liz Wright pose with members of the NIU police force Thursday at the President’s Holiday Gathering in the Altgeld Hall Auditorium. The Holiday Gathering was open to staff and students to connect with each other. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

DeKALB NIU staff and students decked Altgeld Hall with boughs of holly as the fall semester comes to a close.

NIU President Lisa Freeman welcomed staff and students to the annual President’s Holiday Gathering held in the Altgeld Hall Auditorium. Guests were welcomed with holiday-themed refreshments, gingerbread cookies and a hot cocoa station. 

NIU staff were granted an early release to ensure they were able to attend the event. Many people came dressed for the drop in temperature, sporting sweaters in variations of Huskie red and black. 

“I love the fact that it gets people from all over campus face-to-face in one place with some holiday cheer and a chance to just chill before we get really busy with our year-end things,” Freeman said. 

Some staff said the highlight of the events was how they were able to reconnect with coworkers. 

“Many of us work remotely off campus a few days a week, so having the opportunity like this to get together and see old friends and see how they’re doing is really nice,” said Linh Nguyen, an inclusive teaching coordinator. 

The Huskie Food Pantry hosted a food drive during the event, accepting canned goods, household items and winter coats. Jeanne Baxter, assistant director of the Huskie Food Pantry, has been working on spreading awareness of its existence on campus. The pantry emphasized that it relies on the support of students, staff and NIU administration to keep it running. 

“We are here to talk with people and let them know about the pantry but mostly to just say thank you. The amount of faculty and staff that supports the pantry is incredible. They are such a big support,” Baxter said. 

The pantry, which is open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, is always accepting students to volunteer at the Huskie Food Pantry. 

“This is the time of year when we think about the needs of all the members of the community, and you want to make sure they have something to light up their holiday,” Freeman said. “The Huskie Food Pantry is such a worthy cause. They are always needing supplies and volunteers so connecting us to that cause makes a lot of sense.”

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