How lovely are thy branches


By SARA BERTSCH Lifestyles Editor

Homemade ornaments, multi-colored lights and the smell of evergreen trees have taken over The Union as student organizations and campus departments have carefully decorated their own tree to display.

The Festival of Trees is an annual celebration that takes place each year throughout The Union, encompassing the basement, main floor and the top floor.

According to Courtney Donnelli, the Information Exchange student manager, there were 41 participants this year that have decorated their evergreen trees.

“They make The Union more festive and warm for the holiday season,” Donnelli said.

Each tree displays unique decorations and reflects on each group and department. Kappa Epsilon’s tree features bright pink bulbs while New Student Orientation’s tree added a twist on theirs with empty icebreakers and their logo throughout the tree. 

Black Student Alliance displays prominent African American figures on their tree while the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists’ tree sits on Main Street loaded with empty prescription bottles. 

Traveling upstairs, one will see trees from Hilton M. Briggs Library’s tree filled of book-like decor, the horticulture club tree featuring various packages of seeds and many more uniquely decorated evergreens. 

The Festival of Trees gives The Union the sense of Christmas but also adds a little competition as well. There will be a contest for two weeks as the trees are displayed, ending on Dec. 12.

Students and faculty wishing to vote for their favorite Christmas tree may stop by Information Exchange and cast their votes. There are four categories: Santa’s Nice List, Yellow and Blue, Best Showcase of Organization or Department and Making Spirits Bright.

After the votes are counted, the winners will be announced and awarded prizes for their trees. Although there is a contest, Donnelli finds that there is not a whole lot of competitiveness between groups.

“It’s not really competitive. Everyone enjoys getting together as a group and getting in the spirit of Christmas,” she said.

Even Information Exchange has their own Christmas tree which is displayed right next to their office area. Featuring some blue garland and some bright stars, Donnelli and the staff members are pleased with their work.

“This is my favorite time of the year … My favorite part is when The Union is all decorated for Christmas,” she said.

When the festival is over, the trees are donated to members or groups of the community.

“They don’t get put to waste,” Donnelli said.

Only the trees are provided by Information Exchange. The base, decorations and lights are all supplied by the individual groups and departments. 

The festival is part of the Union Holiday Open House, which takes place Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to the trees, there will also be 30 percent off at the University Bookstore, 20 to 50 percent off at Hobo Shoppe, University Program Council Holiday Pinterest, Photos with Jack and Santa, Weary Will Chili Feed, snacks and live music.