The extended SUNY Canton community provided more than 100 gifts for north country families this holiday season.
In an effort led by the President’s Office, the college displayed a tree in the Halford Lobby in MacArthur Hall decorated with tags requesting donations for Canton’s Church and Community Program. The decorations didn’t stay on the tree very long. Students, faculty and staff quickly selected the tags asking for toys for children, donations for a holiday meal and warm winter coats.
Megan J. Griffin, an Applied Psychology major from Norfolk, helped orchestrate and decorate the tree this year. She said they had 50 tags asking for clothes and 49 for toys. The college inspired other cash donations made directly to the Church and Community Center.
“What I found amazing is that people who took a clothes tag still bought toys for the children,” Griffin said. “We have very generous people on campus.”
When an email explaining the initiative was issued to the campus community, one student immediately took action without ever seeing the tree.
Lee O. Meggison of Sleepy Hollow, who studies Health Care Management online, replied to the email saying he’d purchased a gift online.
“Regarding the Giving Tree, I am having a package sent to you with a delivery date of Nov. 28,” Meggison wrote. “The package is a Lego set and two children’s books. I would say appropriate for a 6-year-old boy or girl. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!”
Meggison said he has purchased toys each year he’s been in college to remember his late mother, Marjorie L. Meggison, who was an elementary school teacher. “It’s a way to keep my mom alive in my heart,” he said.
While the college’s giving tree symbolizes Christmas, the spirit of giving and generosity is universal across all holiday traditions, according to SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran, who celebrates Hanukkah with his family.
“The response from faculty, staff and students was heartwarming,” Szafran said. “I loved to see all of the donations come pouring in, and I’m proud to be a part of this community.”
The giving tree is just one of the college’s 50 Acts of Kindness campaign coinciding with SUNY Canton’s 50th Anniversary on the Hill campus. At the initiative’s half-way point, charitable acts include multiple efforts to raise funding for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico; classes volunteering for both Habitat for Humanity and the North Country Children’s museum; and several food, bottle and donation drives for area charities. A comprehensive list of the accomplishments to date accompanied the college’s digital holiday card. SUNY Canton will continue the movement into 2018.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 13 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are joining the North Atlantic Conference beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.