by Natalie Yuhas
Despite the stress from the coming weeks of final exams and papers, Boston College took a break from this busy academic time to celebrate the Christmas season. The annual Boston College Christmas tree lighting took place last Wednesday at 5pm. The BC community came together as many students, faculty, and families gathered on O’Neill Plaza. Hannah Luke, A&S ’16, commented that, “It’s always nice to see the Boston College community come together like it did at the tree lighting. It’s what makes this such a great university to be apart of.” The tree lighting marks the beginning of the holiday celebrations on campus. University President Rev. William Leahy, SJ officiated at the event.
Typically, the lighting takes place near St. Mary’s Hall, and the tree used as the Christmas tree is the large tree in the rose garden adjacent to St. Mary’s. This year, however, because of the construction on St. Mary’s Hall, the large tree is not lit for Christmas. Instead, a smaller tree was brought in and is temporarily staked in O’Neill Plaza as the decorated Christmas tree. Some students said they prefer this arrangement because they think that it is more accessible and central to campus. Emma Vitale, A&S ’16, said that, “Although it’s smaller, it’s in a place I pass by everyday on my way to class.”
UGBC sponsored this free event, which included performances from a variety of different a cappella groups on campus, including BC Bells, Madrigals, Against the Current, Dynamics, Bostonians, Acoustics, and Thomas Harpole and Crew. The groups performed a number of carols and Christmas classics, both secular and religious. The stage was positioned right next to the Christmas tree, which made the celebration feel particularly centered around the tree. While enjoying the music and company, students were also able to sip on hot chocolate and decorate their own Christmas cookies.
At 5:30, a special guest arrived to the event. The music stopped playing temporarily while police car lights and sirens drew attention to BCPD escorting Santa to the annual tree lighting. Students were able to get their picture taken with Santa, who sat on the steps of Gasson Hall facing O’Neill and the Christmas tree. After Santa arrived and the excitement settled, BC musical groups continued to ring in the season with Christmas music. Fr. Leahy lit the tree at the end of the event with the words, “Let there be light.” Christmas has officially arrived on the Heights.