Students of Service carry on Holiday Fest tradition

UMSL Students of Service holiday collection

Students of Service and Office of Student Life staff (from left, kneeling) Ashlee Roberts, Carly Nivison, (from left, standing), Briana Lawson, Jessica Thornton, Abby Wood, Nancy Percy and Kristin Wyninegar show off some of the items collected for Holiday Fest 2013 and on display at The Nosh at the Millennium Student Center. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Their goal is to collect 1,000 items – food, uniforms, toiletries. The annual Holiday Fest is bringing everyone together at the University of Missouri–St. Louis to help local families in need.

For the last two weeks, faculty, students and staff across campus have been filling baskets, bags and boxes with nonperishable food, school uniforms and toiletry items.

This week, UMSL’s Students of Service are fanning out across campus collecting the items. On Friday they will load up a truck and deliver everything to the Pagedale Family Support Center. The group will also work with the people at the center on Dec. 19 to distribute all the items collected.

“By working on the project from the planning stages through collection and then distribution, the students get to see the big picture,” said Carly Nivison, a graduate student in counseling and adviser to the Students of Service, the engine driving the Holiday Fest. “We started the drive the week before Thanksgiving building a holiday display in anticipation of the arrival of food baskets and donations from departments, organizations and individuals across campus.”

Nivison said the Holiday Fest has been a UMSL tradition for at least 30 years.

Kristin Wyninegar, a sophomore communication major, heads up the Students of Service organization. Throughout the year, SOS and teams of student volunteers sponsor events such as Holiday Fest, the Halloween Trunk or Treat and the Martin Luther King Day of Service. But it’s not just a special events group.

“One Saturday a month, SOS and student volunteers also go out into the community and help our neighbors,” she said. “We recently pulled weeds at Earth Dance Farms and cleaned apartments at a women’s homeless shelter so a new family could move in.”

It’s not too late to pitch in for UMSL’s Holiday Fest. Nivison says donations will be accepted in the Office of Student Life, 366 Millennium Student Center, until 5 p.m. Dec. 5. Donate three items of nonperishable food and you’ll get a free T-shirt. Contact Nivison at or the Office of Student Life at 314-516-5291.


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