December 20, 2023
UUP member donates Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
uupdate 12-20-23

UUP Binghamton Chapter Jackie McGinley is bringing a whole lot of Christmas cheer to Rockefeller Center this year.

Twelve tons of cheer, actually. This center’s 80-foot-tall Christmas tree came from her yard.

“It was one of the easiest decisions that we’ve ever made,” McGinley said in a Nov. 30 story posted on the Binghamton University website. “As a social worker, and a core of my own family’s identity, is this idea of service,” McGinley said. “We really try to think about how we can be of service to other people, whether that’s our friends and family, or our neighbors — and now millions of people that we hopefully will get to know or can just impact in a small way.”

McGinley is a licensed social worker, an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work and the program director for Binghamton University’s new online Master of Social Work program.

McGinley didn’t pitch the tree—a 43-foot-wide, eight decade old Norway Spruce—for consideration as the Rockefeller Center tree. The center’s head gardener, Eric Pauze, spotted the tree while he was in the area to scout out another tree that was being considered. Pauze kept tabs on the tree over the summer and fall; the tree was selected in October.

That news was very hush-hush; only the McGinleys knew that their tree was going to spend the holidays in Manhattan for Christmas. And once it was decorated and lit up, it was something she was very glad to share with everyone.

“It’s not our tree anymore,” she said. “It’s your tree. It’s their tree. It’s the world’s tree. This is not about us. It’s really about all the meanings that people apply.

“I’ve heard from alumni, colleagues, current students and members of the community, how meaningful it is to them that the tree came from the University’s backyard, and the pride that they take in that,” she said. “They feel connected to it; they’ve created memories themselves. And that experience has been really wonderful.”

Read more HERE.

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