KOKOMO, Ind. — The Seiberling Mansion is decked out in its holiday best, ready for its annual Christmas celebration, with help from Indiana University Kokomo volunteers.
Danika Smith, Naomi Rush, and Jaina Hattabaugh, together with Dean of Students Sarah Sarber, were among the elves preparing the mansion, home to the Howard County Historical Society, for the annual holiday celebration. Each year, volunteers from community organizations are assigned a room to decorate. The IU Kokomo students worked in the Pioneer Room, using a festive red and silver theme.
Smith, who is student body vice president, hopes to make the service project an annual tradition, and to involve more students.
"This was meaningful to us, knowing that the Seiberling Mansion was IU Kokomo's first home," she said. "It was cool to look around and think about what it would have been like to attend classes there, and to see how far we've come since then."
The mansion was built in the late 1800s, and was a private residence until it became the IU Kokomo campus in 1946. The campus moved to its current home on South Washington Street in 1965.
Sarber encouraged the community, especially those connected to the campus, to visit and see the holiday decorations.
"The mansion is very special to the community, and very significant to the history of IU Kokomo," she said. "It was great to see the different themes and decorations throughout the house."
This year is the first IU Kokomo volunteers have participated in decorating, as far as historical society Executive Director Dave Broman knows.
"In some ways, it's coming home for IU Kokomo," he said. "It's a big job to decorate the Seiberling. It's a big house, with lots of room. It takes a lot of people, and a lot of decorations to make it as beautiful as it is for the season."
Hattabaugh would like to see decorating at the Seiberling become a campus tradition.
"I love Christmastime and the holidays," she said. "It was a fun way to get involved in the community and lend a helping hand at the Seiberling Mansion."
The mansion is now open for the Christmas season. For additional information about tours and tickets, go to www.howardcountymuseum.org
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.