Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Time to Give: Staff raise money, food and fun during campus holiday parties

Photos and Story by James Hill, Kate Chester, Chabre Vickers & Abe Proctor. | Start the discussion


Every December, PCC’s four main campuses host large staff and faculty holiday parties, typically called Winterfests, that attract hundreds of attendees. The parties feature food, fun and the raising of important goods and money for designated charities. The following is a recap of how the parties unfolded at each campus.


For the first time ever, after years in the old Campus Cafeteria, Cascade held its Winter In-Service in the campus’ new Student Union Building on Dec. 3. The annual holiday event was highlighted by remarks from Campus President Karin Edwards, Dean of Instruction Kurt Simonds and Dean of Student Development Linda Reisser. However, the highlight of the afternoon came at the end, when Cascade faculty and staff overturned their seats in a mad scramble to find several Starbucks’ gift cards which had been taped to the undersides of seats before the festivities.Cascade1

In addition, students, faculty, and staff at the campus did their part to help ensure that everyone in the community could enjoy a happy holiday season. The ASPCC-Cascade led the way by assembling Thanksgiving baskets for 58 local families, and raised enough funds for its “Adopt a Family” effort to sponsor Thanksgiving meals for 20 families. Cascade students also helped their brethren by gathering hundreds of pounds of donated food for the Cascade Student Food Nook, and logged more than 1,150 hours of community service this holiday season, working with organizations such as Meals on Wheels, the Oregon Humane Society, the Oregon Food Bank, and more.

Plus, Cascade Public Safety officers got into the act, collecting donated toys for 20 kids at the campus-based Albina Head Start child care facility. And not to be outdone, the Multimedia Program and the Cascade Queer Resource Center teamed up for their annual Winter Sock Drive, which this year collected the most socks in the drive’s five-year history.

Rock Creek

Nearly 100 faculty and staff packed the campus Event Center in Building 9 on Dec. 10 to enjoy great food and even greater company. With a luscious turkey holiday meal provided by the college’s Food Services Department, attendees donated food and cash to gain entry to the annual Winterfest celebration, planned every year by Rock Creek’sUnity/Community Committee. As a result, Rock Creek’s Winterfest raised $457 and 460 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank, which is a record for the campus.

Besides a chance to visit and enjoy the company of others, Rock Creek revelers got to enjoy holiday songs performed by the Rock Creek Student Choir. The choir, under the direction of music instructor Pollyanna Hancock-Moody, is comprised of PCC students and puts on performances on the campus and in the community. The singing was preceded by an inspiring year-end review of events, programs and news by Rock Creek President Sandra Fowler-Hill. The main attraction, though, might have been the donated raffle goodies at the end of the party. Tickets were drawn from a bowl and lucky staff won the items overflowing on the gift table to plenty of cheering by the crowd.


During the 2015 holiday season Southeast Campus students, staff and faculty have been busy connecting with the needs of the community on campus and beyond. To kick off the season ASPCC-Southeast coordinated a campus-wide donation of Thanksgiving baskets to 30 student families in need this year. Various departments across the campus contributed items to ensure the baskets were full and would support students who experience food insecurity.Southeast

On Dec. 15, campus faculty, staff and ASPCC student leaders gathered to finish off their support of the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility sock drive and collect canned food for the student food pantry. The sock drive is the community-based learning project that the hair design and eyeglass program students at Coffee Creek complete with help from other students, staff and faculty. More than 5,000 pairs of socks aided the four homeless shelters: Loaves and Fishes (provides meals to financially needy seniors), My Father’s Heart (a day shelter and community room for homeless adults), Good Neighbor Center (Washington County’s only shelter for homeless families) and P:ear (an organization which helps homeless youth).

More than 100 staff attended the Southeast Campus holiday party, enjoying greetings from Campus President Jessica Howard and had time to enjoy a winter-themed luncheon with colleagues, music and a holiday yule-log projected on the projections screen to “keep warm.” The luncheon also included a holiday bow and ornament sale by the ESOL department to benefit the ESOL book fund.


Faculty and staff again enjoyed the annual Winterfest luncheon, which took place in the cafeteria on Thursday, Dec. 10. Organized by Sylvania’s Traditions, Rituals and Fun Committee, the event featured music from Tina Parkvold, and the Sylvania chamber and choral groups, directed by music instructor Julianne Johnson. And new this year was a pie-throwing contest, whereby attendees whose tickets were chosen had the chance to “cream” a handful of willing administrators and division deans!

The heart of the event, though, is in support of ASPCC and Neighborhood House, a nearby non-profit agency that offers anti-poverty services for seniors and youth, including transitional housing, emergency food boxes, financial assistance and daycare. Each year a variety of campus-based divisions and offices voluntarily participate in Winterfest by creating festive, themed baskets loaded with goodies. Winterfest attendees buy gift tickets hoping their number will be called to win a basket or gift certificate. They also bring canned food for the non-profit’s food pantry and ASPCC’s student-led food canteen, to help students in need.

More than 20 baskets and gift certificates were collected this year, along with more than 300 pounds of canned food and non-perishable food items. Gift ticket sales generated $462. All proceeds and food donations were split between Neighborhood House and ASPCC.

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