Back in 1960, Betty Gordon was office secretary for Snyder Hall at the University of Illinois. She convinced residents to sing or play carols for random callers around the holidays. A tradition was born, and today most students in the building participate for one week each December (between the end of finals and end-of-semester goodbyes) regardless of religion or musical ability. Initially they played vinyl records for most callers, but over the years they decided to sing them all, sometimes out of tune, to relieve the stress of finals.
Their favorite callers are teachers from elementary school classrooms, but anyone can dial in a request. When phone lines opened this year, students received 1,000 calls from all 50 states in the first 14 hours. They will be singing this year until 11:59 p.m. CST on December 16. To request a carol, dial (217) 332-1882. If you don't read this until the deadline has past, be sure to save the number for next December.