Giving back with the Giving Tree

NDSU buys gifts for the children of NDSU students

During the holiday season, the Student Activities office has set up the Tree of Giving to help ensure children get presents over break. This tree is an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to go out and buy a present for a child who may have otherwise been without gifts this Christmas. These gifts will go to the children of NDSU children who may struggle providing gifts. 

The Giving Tree has been going since at least 2014. This tree has ornaments that have the name, age and gender of the children. It also provides a list of presents that the child may like. The personal information of the children is kept confidential, the only thing shared is the age and gender so people know what gifts to buy for the kids. The kids range in age from babies to teenagers, the oldest being 17 years old. 

These are children of students “who might not have the budget to buy holiday gifts,” said Tamara Gordon, the administrative assistant at Student Activities and organizer of the Giving Tree.

The NDSU community can come to the Student Activities office and take an ornament, symbolizing that they will buy a present for that child this holiday season. Student Activities are hoping all of the ornaments will be taken by the end of this week. 

“The giving tree is really an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to adopt a child to make sure that they have Christmas gifts under the tree,” said Lisa Samuelson, the director of Student Activities. 

There are 40 children who are on the giving tree this year. The tree used to also account for faculty and staff’s children, but had to be limited since students with children are in such demand. The Student Activities office also wanted to make sure that all of the children could get a gift. “We wanted to make sure that we didnt take in more children than we could possibly provide gifts for,” said Samuelson

The price limit for the gifts is $50 dollars so that all the kids get the approximately same valued gift. “You want to try to make sure that you are hitting about the same average per child,” said Samuelson. 

Some of the children on the tree are from the same family, so Student Activities tries to ensure that the gifts are even for the children. “They could have multiple children within the same family, you definitely want to make sure that those family’s children are very equal, because children compare,” said Samuelson.  

Some student organizations also participate in this event by working together to provide gifts for the children. Groups or even individuals will sometimes pick up multiple ornaments, providing for multiple children, in some cases 5 children will be taken by one donor. 

Student Activities always receive the gifts that people promise to buy and if there are extra ornaments on the tree, Student Activities will intervene. “If there hasn’t been enough donors that have come in, usually our office will go off and personally take care of those to make sure that everyone has something.” 

Students are also excited to give back and have a young person to shop for this year. The Giving Tree gives students “an opportunity to help ensure that they are getting to give back in that way when they don’t have those littles in their life as of yet,” said Samuelson. 

The Christmas season is typically a time where people look to give back to the community and has been an important part of the community. “During this time there is always that season of giving, and you want to try to give back particularly for those who might not have the same access that others might have,” said Samuelson. 

For some, the holiday season can be difficult and stressful. “I think it’s really hard around the holidays for those kids who don’t get a gift,” said Gordon. 

“Stop in the Student activities office and pick up an ornament off the tree,” said Gordon. The ornaments will be available in the Student Activities office until Friday December 2. 

Leave a Reply