(Photo by Tyler Brown)
(Photo by Tyler Brown) Student Junbin Luo decorates a tree for the LEAP department during the decorating party Friday morning.
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(Photo by Tyler Brown) Michelle Diez (left) and Carey Francis decorate the Black Scholars United tree.
20131115Christmas Trees (Tyler Brown)
(Photo by Tyler Brown) Jon Oglesby and Shari Bowman from Continuing Education place ornaments on their tree, which will be donated to either YCC or the Sub for Santa program.

Holiday festivities at Weber State University began on Friday with the presentation of the Christmas Tree Bridge in the Shepherd Union Building. WSU’s Center for Community Engaged Learning sponsored the Christmas trees displayed on the third-floor mezzanine bridge.

The annual Christmas Tree Bridge provides 4-foot-tall artificial trees, up to 40, to willing departments, clubs and organizations on campus for them to decorate.

The organizations, clubs and groups on campus that decorated the trees were invited to a Christmas tree bridge decorating party and provided with hot chocolate and donuts as a thank-you for participating.

The decorated trees will remain on display until Dec. 13, at which point they will be donated to local shelters and needy families. Ogden’s Your Community Connection and the WSU Women’s Center Sub for Santa program will relocate the trees to places where they can continue spreading holiday cheer after fall semester has ended.

YCC provides a variety of services and resources to families in need in the greater Ogden area, including shelter, food, information and legal advice to those with nowhere else to go.

WSU’s YCC chair, Missy Richards, said she believes the trees will benefit those at the shelter by helping them see the good things about this time of year.

“They really do a lot for the community. I think the trees will give some positive light for the people who are going through a hard time (in) their life.”

The Women’s Center‘s Sub for Santa program has worked with the CCEL and WSU Alumni Center for the past six years to help create holiday celebrations for in-need WSU single parents and their families.

WSU junior Deanne Paulsen said she thinks that, by donating the trees to this program, WSU will help bring happiness to a lot of people.

“I think it is great to donate trees to a Sub for Santa program. There are a lot of different ways to help out during Christmas, and I think giving trees is a great idea,” said Paulsen, who added that she was glad about the amount of service WSU does in general. “Weber talks about being a part of the community . . . so it is great they actually follow through. There are a lot of groups who don’t.”

Each submitted tree will be on display on the bridge for about a month while they’re under consideration for awards the CCEL gives each year. Trees can earn the title of Most Creative or Best Decorated, and all departments, clubs and organizations compete for the awards.

Vocal performance major Shannon Jones said she is happy the Christmas Tree Bridge will help people on and off campus.

“I think that it’s super great! A decorated Christmas tree can make such a difference,” said Jones, who also said she was glad WSU is giving back during the holiday season. “We need to think about others more often … especially around this time of year.”

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