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Statesboro Campus Holiday Helper Tree back for 26th year of community giving

Georgia Southern senior, Emilee Saigh, has participated in the Holiday Helper Tree on the Statesboro Campus since she was a freshman. Saigh has used the Holiday Helper Tree to continue a tradition of giving that was instilled in her during childhood.

“My family has always done some type of donation or gift-giving event during the holidays, so I thought it would be nice to carry the tradition into college with me,” she said.

On Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. in the Russell Union, there will be a kickoff event with a tree lighting ceremony and a musical performance by local children. During the kickoff, students, faculty and staff are invited to celebrate and pull tags for the gift exchange. Tags hung on the tree represent someone in the community who needs a gift and may not receive anything otherwise. Special guest and Georgia Southern first lady Jane Marrero will pull the first tag during the kickoff event.

“The Holiday Helper Tree is great because it’s something you can do as an organization or individually,” Saigh said. “You can pull family tags and individual tags, and you can pull as many as you can fulfill. When people think of donating around the holidays, often the first thing they think of is toys, but more times than not, the tags have things like clothes, shoes and socks.”

There are also gold tags on the tree that represent an act of service that can be done for someone in the community. Tags can be pulled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Nov. 1 through 22.

“Last year, we [Southern Ambasadors] selected a family tag, and we asked each person to donate money so we could go shopping for the entire family,” Saigh said. “We bought gifts for the mother, a young boy, and a teenage boy and girl. All they really wanted were articles of clothing, so we got them a couple items each.”

The deadline to drop off gifts is Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. in Russell Union room 1056. For more information on the Holiday Helper Tree, visit

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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