Student groups ring in holiday cheer on Grounds
Various organizations celebrate with activities open to all religions
As the holiday season approaches, student organizations around Grounds are making efforts to reach out to students and offer activities to celebrate the holidays.
From the religiously observant to the school-spirited, the University community provides a number of joyous holiday-specific events leading up to Winter Break, along with the 13th annual Lighting of the Lawn — which will feature performances from several a cappella groups as the Academic Village is officially lit for the holiday season.
The Brody Jewish Center, an affiliate of the foundation for Jewish campus life of Hillel, has organized events for students to celebrate Hanukkah around Grounds before it ends Thursday, Dec. 5. The Alpha Epsilon Pi Jewish fraternity has also been involved in planning such events for members of the fraternity and interested students.
The primary event organized by the Brody Jewish Center is the nightly lighting of the menorah on the Lawn since students returned from break.
“There’s a social aspect of it, because it’s sort of like our Christmas,” said Saul Brodsky, a fourth-year College student and AEPi president. “It’s so different this year, because Hanukkah came so early.”
University President Teresa Sullivan participated in the menorah-lighting Monday night. On Wednesday night the Jewish Leadership Council joined First Year Council to host a candle lighting in the quad of Old Dorms as a means to gain more participation from first-year students.
“It’s not the most important holiday by any means in Judaism,” said Eileen Cadel, a fourth-year Engineering student and chair of the Jewish Leadership Council. “But it’s one that people normally like to spend with their families, so we like to create that atmosphere.”
Lighting of the Lawn — the University’s secular celebration of the holiday season — is being held on the last night of Hanukkah, and there will be a Lawn room open to serve latkes for the event.
“It’s cool that the Lighting of the Lawn is Thursday,” Cadel said. “Instead of lighting the menorah, you’re lighting the Lawn.”
Kwanzaa is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. It is typically celebrated with musical and artistic performances, a candle-lighting ritual as a representation of the seven core principles of Kwanzaa known as Nguzo Saba, and a feast. The Office of African-American Affairs, with the help of the Black Leadership Institute and the Black President’s Council, held its annual pre-Kwanzaa celebration in Newcomb Tuesday.
“We have about 12 African-American CIOs that are participating in the actual event, and they each take a principle of Kwanzaa and do something creative to it,” said Dion Lewis, assistant dean of the Office of African-American Affairs.
Participating groups included the a cappella group ReMiX, the University’s branch of the NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, United Sisters, Black Male Initiative, Peer Advisor Programs, Black Student Alliance, B.E.A.T.S., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Fashion for a Cause.
Chi Alpha, a Christian fellowship group at the University, has organized a number of events for students interested in celebrating Christmas on Grounds.
This week, for instance, many small groups of Chi Alpha members organized celebrations, including potluck dinners, games and Christmas caroling.
“We went over to the Chi Alpha leaders’ houses where we sang Christmas carols and watched a fellowship message on ending our bible study for the semester,” first-year College student Naana Ewool said.