University of Illinois students dial up the Christmas cheer

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) — When that hotline bling, that can only mean one thing for Jason Bilas — it’s time to sing another Christmas carol.

“It’s just the sheer number of people we’re able to reach,” Bilas said. “There’s something magical. Last year, we were able to get calls from all seven continents, all 50 states in the first day.”

Bilas is the president of the Snyder Hall Council, the organization that coordinates the University of Illinois’ Dial-a-Carol program. He said he and other volunteers have answered more close to 3000 calls in just two days.

“I had a lady last year who started crying after I sang to her,” said fellow volunteer Andrea Worthington. “She told me I made her week so much better…it was so sweet.”

Dial-a-Carol has been a Snyder Hall tradition for 57 years. Callers can dial in 24 hours a day and hear live holiday tunes. The students are all volunteering their time — during one of the most chaotic weeks of their college careers.

“It’s finals [week] right now so a lot of people are spending time alone studying,” Bilas said. “Being able to come down to the lobby and sing and interact with other people is what drives a lot of our volunteers.”

If you’d like to get in on the Christmas fun, call the students of Snyder Hall for free at (217) 332-1882.

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