University’s Dial-a-Carol service strives for 15,000 calls

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

Starting Dec. 14, students can receive free holiday carols over the phone as part of University Housing’s longest-running tradition.

This year marks the 57th anniversary of Dial-a-Carol, which aims to spread holiday cheer around campus. For one week, students can call 217-332-1882 at any time and request a holiday tune.

“The phones are manned by student volunteers who generously sacrifice their study time during finals week to share some holiday cheer,” said Kelly Skinner, senior communications coordinator of University Housing, in a press release.

Phone lines open at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 14 and close at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 20. Last year, the program logged more than 10,500 calls from all 50 states and 75 countries around the world.

This year, their goal is to take more than 15,000 calls, according to the press release.

Skinner said that theres several years for the goal.

“First, it connects with the 150 anniversary. Second, in 2015, we received national media attention with a shout out on Jimmy Kimmel and got more than 16,000 calls that year. Last year, we ended with just over 10,000 calls,” Skinner said. “We hope that if people call in and enjoy their experience, they will share with family and friends and encourage them to call as well.”

Skinner said Dial-a-Carol provides a fun distraction for both volunteers and callers.

“During finals time, there is a special emphasis on positive mental health and stress management,” Skinner said.

Dial-a-Carol was started in 1960 by Betty Gordon, an area office secretary, and the students of Snyder Hall.

“We want to spread the word for all to call in for a dose of holiday cheer and share this wonderful tradition far and wide,” Skinner said.

The service involves a special feature, the Mariah Meter, which tracks how many times the students get a request for the song “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” by famous pop artist Mariah Carey. Last year, the song was requested over 300 times.

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