Faculty, students celebrate an ASU Christmas

Tree lighting event brightens campus and brings smiles to attendees

By Kierstyn Wiley
On November 30, 2018

Photo by Ian Saint: ASU kicks off Christmas with the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Hot cocoa, pictures with Santa and ice skating were just a few of the many festive activities to take part in at the holiday bash.

The Student Government Association held their annual Christmas Tree Lighting Tuesday, Nov. 27, which welcomed students, faculty and citizens to the Memorial Oak Grove.

The annual event brings Christmas to ASU and gives everyone an opportunity to meet new people and show their holiday spirit.

"The aspect of the whole community coming together to celebrate one of the greatest times of the year is really nice to experience," sophomore Destiny Davis said.

Families took part in various activities, such as pictures with Santa, bounce houses and slides, an ice-skating rink, create-your-own Christmas ornaments and cookie-decorating stations. Attendees also enjoyed hot chocolate and cider.

"It’s just pretty to see all the bounce houses," Shalam Alexander, senior, said. "You see a lot of military over here, and it’s just a good vibe and beautiful surroundings and people."

The tree lighting activities started at 5 p.m., but the official tree lighting began at 6:30 p.m. The lights will remain on display for the city to see throughout the whole holiday season.

Heather Valley-Brown, assistant director for student life, discussed the origins of the event.

"The previous vice president met with the student government and said, ‘let’s do something at Christmas,’" she said. "They came up with a tree lighting. It was very slow going, but about three years later, we moved it to Memorial Oak Grove."

As the event grew each year with a larger number of people, the Student Life Office later adopted activities for families who joined the ASU family at their annual event.

Dr. Brian J. May, ASU president, purchased a 15-foot Christmas tree for ASU in 2016 to aid in the creation of the new event.

"I got to talk to Dr. May last year, and he talked about how ASU is one of the only public schools left putting up a Christmas tree," Davis said. "I think it’s so cool that we have administration that does not care what the ‘norm’ is."

All 29 trees in Memorial Oak Grove, which represent fallen soldiers, light up with the Christmas tree.

"The lighting part is my favorite," Nick Ellis, graduate student, said. "When they light the tree, all the trees around it start to light up and it’s a really nice sight to see."

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