Christmas treeIf you are looking for evidence of a selfless holiday spirit, look no further than the halls of Eppley Center on the campus of Michigan State University.

Students on the executive board of The School of Hospitality Business’s annual Auction usually have a “secret Santa” gift exchange among its members at this time of year. But they embraced the suggestion of Auction executive board members Emily Smith (BA ’11) and Morgan Zahul (BA ’11) this year to instead donate $10 each to provide gifts to an “adopted” Christmas family. Then the Auction’s faculty advisor offered to match the total collected. Then the executive boards of all ten of the Hospitality Association (HA) clubs, as well as the executive boards of all four of The School’s annual events, got involved. The result was astounding.

Courtney Moore, vice president of human relations for HA explains how things worked. “HA and The School adopted two large Lansing-area families for the holidays, with each club and event being responsible for one person in the family. We set up a tree in the office and the floor was COVERED with all the gifts. It was fun for us to shop and wrap everything. When I delivered the gifts to them in person, they were thrilled. The kids were all really excited and had a great time helping me unload the car (which was filled to the brim) and putting them under the tree. So each child will receive a toy or two, some articles of clothing (mostly jackets, pj’s, boots, and other winter items), a household necessity, such as new sheets and comforters, and anything else creative the clubs came up with. Both of the mothers got new pots and pans, dishware, towels, and other things that will benefit the whole family. Each family also received some holiday food items and a few gift cards for Meijer, Walmart, and gas.”

Just a reminder — the money spent on the fourteen members of the two families came from the pockets of the students and advisors, not from the treasury of the HA clubs and events. Moreover, the collection of funds, shopping, wrapping, and gift delivery all took place during the week before finals began. So the whole effort involved a selfless attitude and generosity on the part of the students, all of whom agree was worth it.

“We’re always told in The School that we will do well by doing good,” says HA president John Soave (BA ’11). I think the HA executive boards have learned that lesson this holiday season – and we were the ones who benefited.”