SLCC student Jenni Orr (far left) and some of the organizers of her club's Festival of Trees project.
When Jenni Orr’s daughter needed surgery at the tender age of four, she experienced just how much Primary Children’s Hospital (PCH) would come to mean in her life. “Our doctors were amazing,” says Orr, a mother of three. “The nurses, staff – everyone – were so good to her and kind. It really helped to alleviate a lot of our worries.”
This past fall, Orr, 33, a chemistry student at Salt Lake Community College, saw just how much Primary Children’s means to Utah when she took the lead on a fundraising project for her club American Chemical Society Student Affiliate (ACS). The group recently finished their holiday service project with a fundraiser for PCH that raised $9,700 during the non-profit hospital’s annual Festival of Trees, which began 49 years ago. The previous year’s festival raised $2.8 million for children at PCH.
Led by Orr, about 50 SLCC students worked over four months, which included gathering athlete signatures on items from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. They also assembled U of U and BYU trees that were auctioned off during the Festival. Orr says tree displays with sports themes tend to attract a lot of attention and sell well. “This year we wanted to play off the rivalry,” she adds.
Faculty worked with students from August through November to complete the project. The finished product was displayed during the first week of December at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy, where over 100,000 visitors were able to view decorated, donated trees that occupied 220,000 square feet of space. This is the 25th year the ACS has participated in the Festival.
Orr said the project helped her in getting to know SLCC and the broader community it serves. “It was such a great experience to see everyone come out to support Primary Children’s,” she says. Orr, who already has a bachelor’s degree in Family Life Studies from Utah State University, plans to graduate from SLCC next August before moving on to medical school. The Grantsville resident said her goal is to become an emergency room doctor.