14:45 PM

Student Christmas Activities on Campus Come to Life with Special Event and Art


Graduate student Andrea Molina and Alumnus Jonathan Cruz ’15 team up to make Christmas merrier for UST students.

Christmas Wooden Cutouts on CampusAndrea Molina, an Education undergraduate student working in Student Activities, had an epiphany thinking about all the joys that Christmas brings to every family. She imagined A UST Christmas Story based on her thoughts of “a way to spread Christmas cheer, smiles and thoughts through a drive through light show” and more. To help her with her idea, she talked to her supervisor Shundeez Faridifar, director of Student Engagement and Leadership, and then she enlisted alumnus Jonathan Cruz ‘15 to help her bring her vision to life.

 “When a student comes to you, envisioning something out of the ordinary, it is my job to help make that vision a reality,” Faridifar said. “I strongly advocate for student leaders who come up with new, creative, and innovative ideas for UST — this one wasn’t any different. I am excited I was able to connect current students with alumni to make this happen.”

Christmas at the Mall including Wooden Cutouts Mark the Season

In addition, Molina thought that “since this had been a tough year, why not spread joy by hosting a Christmas at the Mall for students.” The event will take place from 7-10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, on the Academic Mall.

 “We will have the annual Christmas tree lighting, Christmas lights, and students can enjoy a Christmas movie with their friends,” Molina said. The event is sponsored by Campus Activities Board and Student Activities.

Wooden Cutouts Nativity Scene in front of Keon House on campusThe other big activity the two dreamed up were Christmas- inspired wooden cutouts, which are displayed on the lawn at the Keon House, the Basilian Fathers residence on campus, and along Yoakum Boulevard.

“My family was a HUGE factor in creating this year’s wooden cutouts for UST,” Cruz said. “My mom and my sister helped out greatly by painting a lot of the pieces with me. My dad would contribute on the weekend with any little task I needed, which I am so grateful for. I love my family for all their support on this project. This wouldn’t have come together without them.”

Why Jonathan Cruz?

Jonathan Cruz is the man for the job because he has a history of supplying wooden cutouts for UST Christmas festivities as well as a storied history of involvement in college life. During his college career, he served as:

  • Served as President of Student Activities Board 2014-2015 
  • Vice Chair for New Student Orientation- 2014 
  • Orientation Leader 2012-2013 
  • Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus-2012-2013 
  • Officer for Celts for Life and IMPACT-2012-2014 

Jonathan’s Inspiration

 “As far back as I can remember, my parents would take my siblings and I to look at Christmas lights,” Cruz said. “My absolute favorite Christmas decorations were always the wooden cutouts. I loved seeing Santa, reindeer and my favorite Disney characters up in front of houses,” he said.

“I was encouraged by my mom to create my own wooden cutouts in 2010,” he said. “I started out by creating a Peanuts themed wooden cutouts. I created Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I loved the way they turned out the following year, and I started to create more. From Christmas characters, Halloween themes, sports Logos, and even a UST Celts logo.

 “A few years back, I created the Nativity scene, Christmas present boxes and a Santa bench that is put up every year in front of the Chapel of St. Basil,” he said. “It brings me joy seeing them out every year.”