The grinch who gave Christmas

STUB reinvents Christmas Tradition by creating drive in movie experience

Micah Lim, Staff Reporter

Rocco Saldivar and Zach Glaze enjoying their gwinn dinner in a white Honda SUV as they partake in the STUB showing of The Grinch. (Jacky Chen)

Each year before finals week, SPU’s Student Union Board  (STUB) would host Tradition which is an annual Christmas celebration where students usually gather in Tiffany Loop to chat, eat food, and take pictures with all the decorations.  However, no one expected the fallout of COVID-19 which forced Tradition to change completely.

Shelby Gladwell, a programmer for STUB, explains the typical Tradition Experience. 

“It would usually take place in the last week before break. We would typically have a party like last year which was a petting zoo with music and fun activities outside” said Gladwell at the 6pm showing. 

SPU’s website describes Tradition as a sparkling Tiffany Loop filled with students, alumni, and their families enjoying hot chocolate and spending time together. Unfortunately, this doesn’t follow COVID-19 guidelines.

In place of Tradition, STUB planned a drive-in movie showing of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch and dubbed the event, “Snowvember Tradition.”

With this new event, STUB was also able to accommodate students unable to drive or those staying off-campus.

“We hosted a Netflix Party and provided gingerbread houses for those who can’t be with us in person,” said Gladwell.

Students in their parked cars listen to the audio of The Grinch through a local FM radio station. (Jacky Chen)

The event itself was a large success. Parked in the Emerson parking lot, students enjoyed a movie with roommates in the comfort of their cars. 

Roommates Beth Pettingil, an exercise science major and Sarah Day, a nutrition and dietetics major, attended the 6pm showing and expressed their enjoyment. 

“As a freshman, I was afraid there wasn’t gonna be anything to do on campus. I don’t know what this year would’ve normally looked like, but events like this make me glad I moved on campus,” said Pettingil.

Day stated that the reason to come wasn’t exactly for the movie itself, but to spend time with friends. 

“Of course I see Beth everyday, but here I’m allowed to hang out with my friends in the car next to us and not risk getting Corona. It’s also really cold outside so I’m glad we can watch from inside the car,” said Day. 

Seeing friends and staying warm aren’t the only benefits of this unique Tradition. Freshman Lucy Sandahl was happy to relive the feeling of being home despite the atypical life on campus in the midst of a pandemic.

“I have always gone to the drive-in in my hometown and I absolutely love every time I go to it. This quarter has been really weird so I figured that it’d be super fun to do something that reminded me of home,” said Sandahl. 

STUB provides students with snacks during their movie viewing. Graduate student Christie Pak hands food to Adam Karlek, and Luke Hannen patiently waits in line. (Jacky Chen)

Tradition this year was able to provide a sense of home while allowing students to still enjoy each others’ company here on campus and follow social distancing guidelines.

Yikhwan Dillard, assistant director of SPU’s Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, is thankful for the ability to both gather and be safe. 

“Obviously, a big part of Tradition has been ending the year in community,” said Dillard. “I think we’re doing that this year, but we can’t be in-person.” 

COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions are set in place to keep the virus from spreading, but that does not mean Christmas cheer should not be spread. 

“We’re just trying to spread some holiday spirit and while we can’t have people gather how we want to, we can still show a movie and have some normalcy,” Dillard said.