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O Christmas tree: DSU students contribute to Angel Tree

Alyssa Mutschelknaus1 / 2
Dickinson State University's Angel Tree and the massive pile of presents underneath it. (Photo courtesy of Marie Moe.)2 / 2

Dickinson State University sophomore Alyssa Mutschelknaus and other members of the Collegiate Farm Bureau Club recently pitched in to brighten the base of DSU's Angel Tree with presents.

The club raised roughly $600, about $40 per each of its members, said Mutschelknaus, who serves as club secretary-treasurer.

"Our president asked if we wanted to participate in the Angel Tree and all of the members said yes," she said. "We got a few things, towels and some CDs for a lady and gift cards for a gentleman who would want them."

Mutschelknaus said that because the club frequently raises funds to support itself, it often ends up with a bit of extra money at the year's end.

"We always have some extra money, so we thought that would be a good way to spend it," Mutschelknaus said. She said that while she was aware of Angel Trees growing up, this was her first time taking part in a big giving effort like this.

"I actually really like it," she said. "I like how the one on campus did it with residents of Able Inc., so it isn't just kids ... it's kind of weird because you don't know where (the gifts) are going to, but you know that they will be happy opening it up and seeing that somebody actually does want to give you something."

For Mutschelknaus, her memories of the season are soaked in the glow of Christmas lights.

"We would always go to our grandparents' house," she said, recalling her favorite Christmases past. "We'd get ready and go to church and after we'd go to church we'd drive around and look at Christmas lights and then we'd go back to my grandparents' house and open presents."

Mutschelknaus, who recently finished her finals, said she's been too busy with school to take in light displays around Dickinson, but said they certainly brightened the commute home.

"It's nice driving home and seeing the lights," she said.

Mutschelknaus also works at Dakota Community Bank, which has been hosting its own angel tree, so she's had an opportunity to give as a representative of her club and as an individual. She said the next big thing the club is saving for is a trip to Reno, Nev., to attend a convention.

Mutschelknaus is an ag business and management major.

Other major contributions to DSU's Angel Tree came from the non-traditional students club, which sponsored 43 angels.