UHV launches Giving Tree donation drive

Michael Wilkinson, director of UHV Student Life & Services, helps decorate the UHV Giving Tree on Monday with freshman seminar students.
Michael Wilkinson, left, director of UHV Student Life & Services, helps decorate the UHV Giving Tree on Monday with freshman seminar students Dennis Barbee, Caralyn Podsim, Darinae Dixon, Luis Cigarro, Elizabeth Matula and Matthew Salinas. The Giving Tree is set up in the UHV University Center foyer, and donations will benefit Adopt-A-Pet and Mid-Coast Family Services.

The holiday season is here, and the University of Houston-Victoria Student Government Association is celebrating by hosting its 15th annual Giving Tree donation drive to benefit Victoria nonprofit organizations.

The Giving Tree gives UHV students, faculty and staff, and community members the opportunity to donate items to different nonprofit organizations. This year, the Giving Tree will benefit Adopt-A-Pet and Mid-Coast Family Services.

“The Giving Tree is one of the UHV Student Government Association’s oldest traditions,” said Michael Wilkinson, UHV Student Life & Services director and the association’s staff advisor. “I am pleased that the association has decided to expand the reach of this initiative by collaborating with the Jaguar Activities Board and other student organizations. It also has selected two worthwhile local community organizations that I know these donations will strongly impact.”

Those who want to donate can leave requested items under one of two Giving Trees on campus through Dec. 15. The first tree is in the foyer of UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Students also have their own tree in Jaguar Hall Commons, 2705 Houston Highway.

Each year, student government executive board members choose area charities to benefit from the Giving Tree, solicit donations and make arrangements to deliver the supplies once the campaign concludes.

“We chose Mid-Coast Family Services and Adopt-A-Pet because of the impact they have on the community,” said Ashley Yaws, a UHV senior and vice president of the Student Government Association. “Mid-Coast benefits people in crises, especially women, children and the elderly. Adopt-A-Pet takes care of animals, which often are overlooked.”

In addition, both Mid-Coast and Adopt-A-Pet are longtime partners with UHV that participate in student volunteering opportunities, such as Jags Join In – Day of Service. They also have taken part in campus activities, such as Pet Away Stress, that benefit students, Yaws said.

Items requested by Mid-Coast Family Services include paper towels, fabric softener, blankets, jackets, clothes, children’s books, toys, nonperishable food, hygiene supplies, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels and socks.

Adopt-A-Pet has requested items that include cat litter, canned dog and cat food, pet treats, pet beds, newspapers, blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, empty spray bottles, air fresheners, brooms, liquid dish detergent, bleach, antibacterial hand soap, masking tape, permanent markers, chew toys and cat toys.

To learn more about the Giving Tree, contact the Student Government Association at

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.