Sarah Regan’s Christmas diorama returns to the Facilities Management front desk, with the department’s staff taking starring roles. Jason Hange, EMU’s citation officer and venue coordinator, issues a "wrong lot" ticket to the reindeer (“he should be on the roof,” explains the artist). The 2-inch clay figurines crafted by Sarah are ingeniously detailed; for example, Jason wears his usual brown coat and a hunting cap, in honor of one of his favorite pastimes. Visit the Facilities Management office for a guided tour by administrative assistant and diorama host Lori Gant.

Advent greetings, Christmas tidings and back by popular demand, ‘Sarah’s Facilities Management Team Claymation Christmas II’

Last year, Sarah Regan ‘18 singlehandedly inspired two new traditions at EMU. The assistant director of auxiliary services created a holiday diorama complete with detailed clay figurines depicting each of her colleagues. [See last year’s article for the story of how a bit of clay found in the trash ended up sparking this project.]

Word got out about Regan’s creation and EMU News decided to share the story. It seemed only right to add in a photo of Patty Eckard, Business and Leadership Program administrative assistant, and her much-anticipated spectacular Christmas cookie tray.

And then we could not leave out our lovely Lighting of the Green ceremony, Advent video, and various and sundry other campus Christmas traditions to share.

Thus, the annual EMU Christmas photoessay!

So here we go — the 2022 edition!

EMU students, faculty and staff are welcome to submit a photo and caption for inclusion in this photoessay. Drop a note in the comment box at the end of this article and we’ll get in touch with you.

Sarah’s Christmas in Clay

Here’s Sarah with her scene from this year. “I love my team,” she says, “and I think each one deserves to be noticed and recognized for their individual gifts and personalities. They continue to make every day at EMU better, always making me laugh and reminding me of how loved I am.”

Top row from left: The emu-drawn sleigh makes its second appearance, this time inspected by Dan Marple Jr., fleet and equipment coordinator.

The EMU work truck is filled with presents by Tom Martin (on the ladder) and Cherith Kool while Wayne Martin, safety and security coordinator, aptly does his job by stabilizing the ladder.  

Shane Bieber, electrician, and John Shepard, HVAC/plumbing, hang the Christmas lights.

Multitradesman and carpenter Arnold Driediger and Structural Maintenance Supervisor Mike Stellwag build a snowman. Note Mike has all the parts of the snowman’s face and is ready to add them.

Bottom row: Security officers Elizabeth Jones, Dustin Turner, and Kim Myers hand out candy canes while awaiting final approval of the emu-drawn security sleigh inspection.

Phil Martin, construction management and facility planner, hangs onto Laura the pug, who adores sock dissection.

Cheryl Montgomery, director of auxiliary services, holds a pan of fresh gingerbread cookies, one of which is being enjoyed by Ed Lehman, director of facilities management.

Lead groundskeepers Lance Wenger and Kendall Wenger are shoveling snow while wearing ice skates and being watched, as they should be, by assistant groundskeeper Doug Blyer.

In the triptych, left to right: Lori Gant, administrative assistant in facilities, wraps gifts while Sarah Regan tries to balance the wrapped gifts on her head (this is also true to character; Sarah says she loves to try balancing different things on her head as part of her normal, daily existence). Custodial Supervisor Candy Ruley pours eggnog with the help of Diann Harman, facilities management administrative assistant. Matthew Freed, HVAC/plumbing technician, makes a snow angel.

Y-Serve Christmas Boxes

EMU’s Y-Serve organization hosted several holiday activities. Campus community members helped pack 100 gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child in November (see below). The Hall of Nations location outside the new Common Grounds Coffeehouse boosted visibility and helping hands from set-up to clean-up, said presidents Kara Kornhaus and Halie Mast. “I loved seeing the different groups and classes interact when packaging and meeting some new faces,” Kornhaus said. “Halie and I also noted how thankful we were to have such a supportive and energized group show up to help make things move smoothly and efficiently.” Common Grounds contributed brownie bites and hot chocolate to the packers at the end of the time. OTher activities this holiday season included the Y-Serve baking team sharing treats with students and campus custodians, as well as facilities management employees, and a collaborative carol-singing visit to Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.

Harrisonburg Christmas Parade

EMU’s Chamber Singers, with director Benjamin Bergey, performed from a float in the Harrisonburg Christmas parade to packed crowds downtown on Saturday, Dec. 3. The float construction was an all-around team effort, with Marketing and Communication and Advancement teaming up on the decorations. Theater set designer Shannon Dove provided stabilization assistance, and Jesse and Susan Huxman provided the chauffeuring.

One highlight before the parade was fielding requests for songs from little participants in the adjacent Keezletown Little League float (they were enthusiastic contributors to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”).

Lighting of the Green

EMU’s annual Lighting of the Green ceremony drew large crowds to Thomas Plaza on Monday, Dec. 5. The EMU Jazz Band kicked off the event, as students, faculty, staff and retirees enjoyed hot drinks and cookies. As dusk approached, candles were lit. Thanks to Facilities Management for their many hours of work stringing the beautiful lights on buildings and walkways. The spectacle, sponsored by the President’s Office, is a favorite of Park View residents, many of whom walk through campus over Christmas break.

Advent Greetings

EMU’s Advent greeting features Professor David Berry, Preparatory Music Program director and cellist Kimberly Souther, and students Afton Rhodes-Lehman, of Dayton, Va., and Reah Clymer, of Meridian, Miss.

Holiday note-writing

Each December, the admissions office sponsors an annual note-writing event, aiming to send each admitted student a personal note from an EMU faculty or staff member that will arrive over winter break. The event is hosted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the last week of classes; snacks, drinks, contests, and general festive cheer are available, courtesy of admissions staff. Standing, from left: Jacob Horsley, Rachelle Swe, Luke Litwiller, Erika Gingerich, David Morrison, Lexi Brown, Adam King. Seated, from left: Hannah Nichols-Murch, Justice Allen. A total of 680 cards from EMU are in the mail!

And finally, Patty’s cookies…

Patty is famous for her platters of holiday cookies!

Merry Christmas!

Join the Discussion on “Advent greetings, Christmas tidings and back by popular demand, ‘Sarah’s Facilities Management Team Claymation Christmas II’

  1. This post gives me all the warm fuzzies. So many fun and talented colleagues!!! It is 100% worth it to make a trip to see that clay Christmas tree in person: It is mind-blowing.

  2. Wow 😳,am so much thrilled and happy to receive these wonderful Christmas greetings…. indeed EMU is the best place.Thank you so much Sarah…. I wish you all a merry Christmas greetings with lots of Love.

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