Lighting a Tradition brings community together


Hayden Olberding, Staff Writer

A miniature train carrying cheerful children rolled around the quad as community members harmonized Christmas carols in anticipation of the holiday season.

Many activities were underway as many members of the USI community bustled around the Quad. Some decorated cookies, others enjoyed getting pictures with Santa and soaked in the atmosphere of the holiday. 

Freshman undecided major Logan Markos said his favorite part of Lighting a Tradition is everyone coming together. 

“I heard about it a few days ago,” Markos said. “I was like, maybe it would be fun to get with some friends and see what it’s all about.”

Lighting a Tradition is an annual holiday event centered around Christmas for USI students, faculty, their families and other community members. The event featured lighting the Quad with Christmas lights, games for kids, train rides and horse-drawn carriage rides.

SGA President Kelsey McCullough said that the SGA sponsored the Holiday Village, the area with the food and games, for its second year. 

“It’s open to faculty, staff, alumni, students, everyone,” the junior political science and philosophy major said. 

McCullough acted as the mediator in putting together this event. She took part in the SGA’s vote to fund the event,  and was responsible for communicating with Nathan Criss, the president of the Alumni Association.

The Holiday Village started last year and this is the first year that the SGA helped put it together.

It was aimed more at the children who may have attended the event. 

McCullough said she thinks people come to the Lighting a Tradition because of everything put together during the holiday event.

“The Quad when it’s lit is beautiful,” McCullough said. “The games for the kids, and the train rides, I think that (drew) people out.”

McCullough said the SGA hopes to stay involved in Lighting a Tradition in future years, although much of the planning is done by the Alumni Association. 

Sophomore political science and psychology major Erika Uebelhor said this was her first year helping with Lighting a Tradition with the Alumni Association. 

The Alumni Association was going off precedent of what was planned last year. 

Uebelhor said they had monetary setbacks this year.

“The Holiday Village was new last year,” Uebelhor said. “Finding funding for that the last few years has been difficult.”

She also said that she is hoping that Student Affairs will be able to help in the future.

Sophomore business administration major Harrison Wells said he enjoyed spending time with good friends and enjoying the festivities. 

“It’s the little stuff you appreciate,” Wells said.