UHV students prepare to get into holiday spirit with Giving Tree

UHV students Madison Collins, front, and Alba Sanchez hang ornaments on the tree at the 2014 Giving Tree decorating party. The 2015 Giving Tree is open from Tuesday to Dec. 14 and will benefit Adopt-A-Pet, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Mid-Coast Family Services and the Old Landmark Committee of Victoria.

Four Victoria nonprofit organizations will receive some much-needed supplies this holiday season thanks to the University of Houston-Victoria Student Government Association.

Lola Ojo

The UHV SGA has organized the 13th annual Giving Tree, a two-week donation drive that gives UHV students, faculty and staff, and community members the opportunity to give items to local nonprofit organizations. Donations will benefit Adopt-A-Pet, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Mid-Coast Family Services and the Old Landmark Committee of Victoria.

“The Giving Tree is about more than leaving gifts under a tree,” said Lola Ojo, speaker of the SGA Senate. “It’s about giving back to the community and extending the opportunity to feel Christmas cheer and generosity to anyone who cares to take part.”

The Giving Tree will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday with a tree decorating party in the foyer of the UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to decorate the tree.

Once the tree is decorated, people can place unwrapped gifts under the tree until Dec. 14. Some of the requested items include canned dog and cat food, Tidy Cats litter, paper towels, fabric softener, laundry detergent, canned fruits and meats, peanut butter, rice, beans, toiletries, diapers, hair products, socks, lice treatments, toys and batteries. A complete list of requested items from each nonprofit is available on the SGA website and the University Center foyer.

Vic Morgan

“UHV is glad to once again host the SGA Giving Tree event to benefit important community groups,” UHV Interim President Vic Morgan said. “I hope UHV employees and community members will join our students in showing support for these groups during the holiday season.”

To Ojo, the opportunity to give and be involved reflects the Golden Rule. Students have the opportunity to treat others as they would like to be treated in a similar situation by helping nonprofit groups meet their needs. In addition, it’s an opportunity for students to make connections in the Victoria community.

“The tree decorating and the ability to donate is open to anyone, and that gives our students the chance to meet people from the community,” she said. “In the past, UHV students have found volunteer opportunities through the Giving Tree campaign. Even if students or donors can’t make a large contribution, any small gesture helps.”

Adopt-A-Pet is a local animal rescue, rehabilitation and adoption service. The Food Bank of the Golden Crescent collects food for the needy, elderly and sick. Mid-Coast Family Services works to eliminate family violence, homelessness and substance abuse. The Old Landmark Committee helps take care of children and the needy, and organizes community celebrations such as Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.

To learn more about the Giving Tree campaign and see a complete list of donation requests, go to the UHV SGA website and click on the Giving Tree link. Those with questions can contact the SGA at 361-485-4495 or

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.