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The Giving Spirit

One of UNLV's oldest traditions — the Holiday Card Tree Scholarship — is spreading good wishes while raising funds for students like Yen Lu.

Campus News  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  By Jorge Labrador
Yen Lu

Kinesiology major Yen Lu is one of five 2016 Faculty Staff Holiday Card Scholarship recipients. 

Editor's Note: 

You can support the Faculty-Staff Holiday Card Scholarship by making a gift online or by sending a check to: UNLV Foundation, Box 451006, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas, NV 89154-1006. Deadline in order to be listed on the this year's card is Monday, Nov. 28, 2016.

Compared to other universities, UNLV – which is 59 years old – might be considered a spring chicken. And even though plenty of things have changed around campus in that short time, one of the oldest traditions on campus still thrives – and there’s still time for you to get in on it.

The UNLV Holiday Card Scholarship was started by the Faculty Club in 1967 and is still going strong today.  Faculty and staff are encouraged to contribute a gift of any amount to the Faculty Staff Holiday Card scholarship fund – and those who do can have their names listed in a holiday card, which is distributed throughout campus. More than $100,000 has been raised by UNLV faculty and staff, both current and retired.

The scholarship supports students like kinesiology major Yen Lu. Lu is one of five 2016 Faculty Staff Holiday Card Scholarship recipients.  She plans to pursue a graduate degree in occupational therapy.

“At first I wanted to be a physical therapist, but I came across occupational therapy, and I thought it would suit me better,” she said.

“I love to help people, I want to be able to give them hope in life again.”

Lu, whose family is Chinese, was born and raised in Vietnam and has been living in Las Vegas for 9 years. Along the way, she’s discovered she has a knack for language.

“A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I can speak five different languages: English, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, and Korean,” she says.

In-state cost and financial aid factored into her UNLV choice, but she also stayed local so she could be close to her family. At UNLV, she also has the opportunity to continue volunteering in the community. Lu was a member of Key Club in high school and continued in its collegiate version, Circle K International. Even when work schedules get in the way of Circle K volunteer opportunities, she finds a way to make time for other local organizations.

“Whenever I'm on my days off, I always go volunteer at Clean The World,” she says.

As for the faculty and staff that made it possible, she has a heartfelt message: “Without you, I wouldn’t be here today.”