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SAITSA and SAIT join forces for Adopt-a-Student Family

SAIT adopt a student family

A wooden Santa board smiles at passers-by at SAIT’s annual christmas market. (Photo by Spencer Olsen-Thul/SAIT)

Every year, students at SAIT have a chance to apply for the Adopt-a-Student Family program, and receive Christmas gifts for themselves and their family, purchased by staff.

There are 47 student families who will be adopted this holiday season, all of whom will receive their gifts from Dec. 10-14, the week before winter break.

SAITSA staff talk about the program all year because everyone is “always excited” for the annual event, said Colleen Burnett, assistant manager of student experience with SAITSA.

“It’s a great program that SAITSA looks forward to every year – and so does SAIT,” she said.

All students are welcome to apply with a summary of how they would benefit from the gifts they request, Burnett said.

“There’s really no strict criteria other than being a SAIT student,” she said.

“I haven’t seen a situation where we’ve turned someone away.”

The annual event requires an online application through SAITSA’s website, which includes details of the student and their family’s interest and needs.

After the Nov. 22 deadline, the details of the students, such as age, interests, and what they requested are summarized and placed in an envelope without a name, to keep confidentiality. Then, staff at SAIT and SAITSA can choose cards from the Christmas tree in the SAITSA Resource Centre, with students’ details inside to purchases gifts for.

The gifts are then dropped off at the Resource Centre to be wrapped up nicely for students to collect. 

Staff at the Resource Centre “like to take as many” students as they can before the deadline to help spread some holiday cheer around campus.

“It’s such a fantastic program and it’s great to see how it brings together SAITSA and SAIT. It’s a good partnership between the two organizations,” said Burnett.

She said they have “been getting questions for weeks” from departments asking when they can adopt the student families.

Students with children usually ask for gift cards to buy groceries for their families, or winter jackets and boots to keep warm through the winter. The gifts also include pajamas or chocolates along with what students have asked for, she explained. 

“A lot of people do focus on their children, so sometimes parents will say ‘I don’t need anything, just please focus on my kids.’”

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