19 years of celebrating the Festival of Trees


Agnes Kurtzhals

Pi Gamma Mu and Student Senate are hosting the 19th annual Festival of Trees from Nov. 15 to Dec. 3. Graphic courtesy of Agnes Kurtzhals.

Jennifer Castillo, News Writer

The Festival of Trees celebrates 19 years of helping those who are less fortunate through donations by the Wayne State College community.

Pi Gamma Mu and the Student Senate are organizing the annual Festival to raise money for the Wayne County Gift for Kids program. Pi Gamma Mu advisor, Randy Bertolas, said the festival brightens up the campus and it gives back to the community and those less fortunate.

Participants will need a $12 donation to enter a tree, and those who do not have a tree can go to the student senate and borrow one for $20. The trees will be up in the lower cafeteria for three weeks.

“It can be a club, an organization, a team, an intramural, it can be one floor in your residence hall, it can be a group of people who just want to come together and put up a tree and enter something in the competition, it can be an office, a lot of different groups,” Bertolas said.

Last year the Festival of Trees raised over $500. Pi Gamma Mu advisor, Lisa Nelson said it was tough to say how many participants and donators they will have this year. In the past, they have filled the bottom part of the Student Activity Center with trees. This year, Bertolas has already donated $130 a bought a new tree and decorations for the geography honor society. He said a lot of people have been emailing him about participating in the festival.

Kate Berry, a former president of Pi Gamma Mu, is in charge of buying gifts and making sure the money goes to a good cause. The festival has overhead or administration, The $12 is a donation, not a fee.

“We are not charging anyone, there is no tax ever, that means every single dime goes to the gifts for kids’ program,” Berry said.

People can donate by writing a check to PGM or by bringing cash to the festival. In addition, there will be a donation box located in the Student Activities office.

“We can’t take credit cards or Venmo because just to set that up would take all the money off our profits,” Bertolas said.

The idea of the Festival of Trees was from a student named Norman Small 19 years ago.

“It’s been a lot of fun over the years, and I think it’s greatly appreciated by people in the community also,” Nelson said.