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Posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

U-M medical students to collect donations during holiday shopping Friday, Saturday in Ann Arbor

By Danielle Arndt


University of Michigan students Linda Tran, left, and Jennifer Wong do a funky little dance as they sing a Christmas tune to try to get folks to donate during Galens Tag Days sale in 2010.

University of Michigan medical students will take to the streets of Ann Arbor this weekend wearing red ponchos and carrying buckets to collect donations for children.

Friday and Saturday will mark the 85th annual Tag Days fundraiser for the Galens Medical Society, which is comprised of more than 120 U-M medical students.

Tag Days is the society’s largest fundraiser, generating more than $60,000 annually.

Event co-chairwoman Stephanie Berry said during the past five years, the society has contributed $200,000 - $40,000 per year - to the construction of the new Mott Children’s Hospital, which opens Sunday. The remaining donations are divided among other community programs.

A Galens student committee awards the grants based on need. Recent recipients have included the Corner Health Center, the Family Book Club of Ann Arbor, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, Ozone House, Project Healthy Schools and several week-long summer camps for children battling cancer or blood diseases.

Ann Arbor Public Schools also received money in the past for a start-up garden to teach pupils about growing and consuming healthy produce.

Berry said providing funds for children in southeastern Michigan has been a focus of the society’s since its inception.

“Many years ago, there was not much of an emphasis placed on creating a good environment for kids to still be kids while sick or in the hospital,” she said.

Berry added the society was key in helping to establish a floor in the existing children’s hospital where families could play, interact and participate in activities and events together.

Tag Days always occurs the first weekend in December to coincide with the downtown Midnight Madness sale and the appearance of carolers in Kerrytown.

“It is the first weekend after Thanksgiving, the traffic is always excellent and people are generally still excited about the holidays and excited about giving,” Berry said.

About 200 faculty and students will be out “bucketing” along Main Street, State Street, the U-M campus and near the hospitals. Find them from 6 a.m. to midnight Friday and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Also visit the Galens Medical Society's website to donate online via a paypal account. Patrons will receive a tag to display on their jackets or purses acknowledging they donated to the society’s effort.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

The Galen's work is especially notable when you remember that these students have a lot of studying and committed time to their duties at the hospitals as part of their training. That is a huge amount they have contributed to Mott, completing a pledge they made to do it. Give them a boost when you see them - usually out in bad weather this time of year.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

This is an excellent cause, I particularly like to give the first day, put my tag on, and then get thanked (rather than harassed) the rest of the weekend walking around downtown. Do wonder if their annual take is really 200K-40K; seems like a wide spread. Typo? (maybe 20K-40K) is the correct number?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

I think it's a total of $200,000 over the past 5 years or an average of $40,000 per year. I also second the suggestion to give early and enjoy all the thanks that come your way from the med students.