According to Buddy the Elf in the 2003 comedy film Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

There is no doubt that ugly holiday sweaters are a close second. For that reason, the Pay It Forward student team is hosting the College of Business’ second annual ugly sweater party in the atrium Tuesday, December 3, from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Attendees will be able to enjoy tasty treats, have their picture taken with a social media-worthy photo frame and can earn special Illinois State University swag while supplies last. Prizes will also be awarded for the top three sweaters in attendance.

“There will be hot chocolate and cookies, and anybody is welcome to come and get them,” senior integrated marketing communication major and Pay It Forward team member Hayat El Rafie said of the upcoming event. “You don’t have to participate in the photo booth or take a picture. You don’t even have to wear a sweater if you don’t have one. You can just come down, and there will be Christmas music. The tree will be up.”

She went on to explain that the party is designed to “give back to our students.”

“We just want to make people a little happy around the holidays, and it’s almost finals week, so we really want them to feel a piece of home is here. A piece of the holidays is here. Finals are a stressful time, so we just want to de-stress them a little bit,” she said.

Ugly Sweater Day in the College of Business

The upcoming ugly sweater celebration is just one way the Pay It Forward team is impacting the College of Business. At the beginning of October, the group hosted a donation drive for the Pay It Forward Student Fund, which provides students with financial support for professional development purposes. Over a two day span, 302 donors gave $1,379, and a matching gift by Dentsmart founder and CEO Ron Whitton ’80 brought the total to $2,758.

El Rafie noted she is looking forward to seeing the College of Business filled with ugly sweaters the Tuesday after Thanksgiving break.

“They’re just so funny,” she said of the outlandishly decorated holiday outfits that have resurged in popularity in recent years. “Ugly sweaters get you in the spirit, and I think that’s what they’re really about. It’s not just about them being ugly, it’s also about the meaning behind it. What ugly sweaters bring is a little bit of joy and cheer, and that’s what we need around here, so that’s why we’re doing it.”

Students, faculty, and staff are all encouraged to join in the fun. Notably, the business attire requirements have been lifted for marketing and sales students for the day of December 3 if students participate in the dress-up event.

If your closet does not currently contain an ugly holiday sweater, some are available for purchase from ISU’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America in Fell Hall November 19–20 from 10 a.m.– 2 p.m.

They can also be found by scouring thrift stores, buying them new, raiding a family member’s closet for a vintage gem or showing off your creativity by making your own.