Topic: Student Affairs

December 11, 2017

Student wrapping Angel Tree present
Mea Ditto, a freshman from Indianapolis, puts the finishing touches on a present during the wrap-a-thon in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.

During a recent afternoon, Tylan Miles joined dozens of his fellow college students in a wrap-a-thon at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center to make the holidays a bit merrier for families in east central Indiana.

The 19-year-old sophomore from Indianapolis wrapped dozens of items for the university’s Angel Tree program, a partnership with Student Life’s Student Voluntary Services (SVS) and the Delaware County Department of Family and Child Services. 

Miles characterized the afternoon as therapeutic.

“I simply like to help people, so I put in as much community service as possible,” said the sociology major who graduated from Pike High School. “I wrapped presents for four families today, and I hope they can enjoy these things.”

For 26 years, the campus community has been making sure that children’s wants and wishes are filled. Each year, Delaware County Department of Family and Child Services identifies youngsters whose families need assistance to provide gifts.

A volunteer picks a paper ornament with the age and gender of a child and a list of presents the child wants, said Lauren Berger, acting director of student life. The volunteer then buys those gifts and drops them off at the Student Center. This year, the Angel Tree program had 521 requests, up 184 from the previous year.

Berger noted the university responded in record numbers.

“The campus answered the call again this year,” she said. “I think it’s our way of showing that we care about the community and serve our neighbors. It shows how Ball State does more than educate students.”

Emily Greiwe, a freshman from Greensburg, Indiana, joined her roommate Mea Ditto, a freshman from Indianapolis, in the wrap-a-thon.

“This is the first time I’ve ever wrapped presents in my life,” said Greiwe, who is studying elementary education. “The first present I got was a basketball. I guess whoever gets it will know what it is immediately.”

The key to being good a wrapping presents? Consistency and having fun, said Miles.

“You don’t have to wrap presents like everyone else — just be creative,” he said. “One of the presents I wrapped looked like a Tootsie Roll. I just enjoy this. My advice is to smile and have fun with it. It isn’t supposed to be difficult.”