Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augie Lights Up the Holiday Season

Student, faculty, and family gather around the Christmas tree outside of Old Main after it’s annual lighting on Wednesday. Photo by Kevin Donovan

Wednesday November 29th, it wasn’t too warm, it wasn’t too cold – it was the perfect weather for the annual Augustana Christmas Tree Lighting.
The fifth annual tree lighting took place at 4:30 p.m. in front of Old Main. Faculty, staff and students gathered, hot cocoa and cookies in hand, around the evergreen tree that “has grown wonderfully,” President Bahls said. Ashleigh Johnston, director of public relations and social media, and Keri Rursch, assistant vice president of communications and marketing, spoke before the tree lighting began.They talked about the history of this tradition at Augustana. Rursch explained how the tree lighting originally occurred inside of the Gerber Center and was then moved to be outside of Old Main about three years ago, per request of the Student Government Association.The tradition of lighting the tree came from Bahls. He said that, “I recognized that campus is a place of study, but also home for many students.”
Before lighting the tree, Bahls said a few words about this tradition. “Christmas season is really the best time at Augustana” and then he went on to read a few passages from Maya Angelou’s ‘Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem’. Bahls’ reason for reading this specific poem was that “our nation is dividing among so many fault lines…Christmas is a time to come together.” After having read the poem and saying a few more words, Bahls chose a student from the crowd to help him light the tree. Yen Ngo, first year student planning to major in Multimedia Journalism and Mass Communication, was the lucky student to help. Ngo said, “It felt uncertain. I did not believe it went on the first time.” Once the tree was lit the bells in Old Main began playing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and people talked and took pictures in front of the tree.
Johnston said, “[This tradition] brings people together. Without the lighting of the tree then all these people wouldn’t be standing in this cold.”
Ngo said she came to the lighting because, “I like Christmas trees and lights, as well as celebrating the start of something new.”
Once the lighting began to wrap up President Bahl’s made his way to small groups of people that were gathered and wished them ‘Happy Holidays’.
Now that the holiday season has officially been kicked off at Augustana many more events will be occurring in the coming weeks. Upcoming events include the Virgen de Guadalupe celebration hosted by Latinx Unidos on Wednesday December 6 at 6 P.M., the Augustana Dance Company’s winter show, ConfiDANCE, on Friday December 8 at 8 P.M., The ‘Seasons of Light’ planetarium show on Saturday December 9 at 7 P.M., Hanukkah Party on Sunday December 10 at 5 P.M., the Sankta Lucia Festival on Tuesday December 12 at 7 P.M., and finally Lessons and Carols which will be held twice on Thursday December 14 at 4 P.M. and 8 P.M..

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Augie Lights Up the Holiday Season