The Board Hosts 196th Annual Lighting of the Quad / Gracie Lee
Lighting of the Quad is an event greatly anticipated by students during the holiday season. In celebrating its 196th year, MC didn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops. It’s a night of festive games, activities, food, and tradition, hosted by the Campus Programming Board. Past years included a gingerbread building contest, hot cocoa and marshmallows, a carriage ride, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The festivities don’t end there. MC students and families can participate in holiday-themed photo booths, play in snowy forests, and take pictures on the lighted walkways. The Board also offers coloring books and kid-friendly activities for families of all ages. Unlike November of 2020, during which the event was spread over three days to encourage social distancing, this years’ festivities welcomed full crowds on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Admission was free for students, faculty, and the public.
“My favorite part was the countdown leading up to lighting the Quad, with everyone gathering together in excitement and for warmth,” Alyssa Arbuckle, a senior from Bossier City, Louisiana, said.
Although the light posts usually aren’t covered for long, the lights lining the Quad are one of the most beautiful and memorable qualities of Lighting of the Quad. Many students look forward to the Quad’s transformation into a winter wonderland.
“It’s so fun to embrace the cold weather with delicious hot chocolate and beautiful lights that we could ooh and ahh at,” Hannah Jackson, a junior from Crystal Springs, Mississippi, said. “My first Lighting of the Quad was such a magical experience. It truly felt like a Hallmark movie come to life right there on the quad. It’s for sure my favorite time of the year.”
During many students’ freshman year, the event is a welcome opportunity for involvement in campus activities, especially for those spending the holiday season away from home for the first time. “Once it was lit, I felt like I was really a part of the MC family and that I finally belonged in college,” Arbuckle said. She attended Lighting of the Quad for the first time in 2018. “I enjoyed the anticipation leading up to it and the secrecy surrounding it. I had heard of how fun it was and I was excited to be a part of it with the rest of the campus. It was one of my favorite moments during my entire freshman year.”
A lot has to happen behind the scenes of these festivities to live up to student’s expectations for the anticipated night. “A lot goes into making it a memorable event, not only for MC students and faculty, but also the Clinton community as a whole,” Courtney Engel, a student on the Board, said. “Preparation for this event consists of brainstorming themes, food, activities, and wrapping a lot of lights on trees. Our committee has put in so much work towards this event and we are so excited for everyone to get to enjoy it.”