Despite the freezing temperatures on Tuesday night, student’s hearts were warmed at the annual Lighting of the Quad.
The 13th annual edition of the event included speeches, acapella performances, hot chocolate and cookies.
The annual event brightens the mood in the otherwise stressful finals period for students, providing a reminder of the cheery season ahead.
“I went to the Lovefeast on Sunday,” said sophomore Leeden Rukstalis. “I loved it, so I wanted to keep the spirit going. I also needed a break from studying.”
Students brought hats, scarves, gloves and blankets to donate.
The event embraced a theme of acceptance by including both a Christmas tree and a menorah in the lighting.
Ben Campbell, a sophomore whose mother is Jewish and father is Christian, said that having both symbols reminded him of his family’s traditions
“After having a multifaith upbringing, it was enjoyable to be at a multifaith celebration,” Campbell said.
Reverend Auman, the university chaplain, was sure to include multiple faiths in his remarks.
“Most of what we celebrate is Christmas and Hanukah, but there are 14 other traditions at this time of year,” Auman said.
Musical performances were also accepting of multiple traditions.
A wide range of music was represented from secular hit “Last Christmas,” to traditional carol “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
The performers included the gospel choir and all six campus acapella groups: Melodeacs, Innuendo, Minor Variation, Chi Rho, Plead the Fifth and Demon Divas.
Trenor Philbin of the new coed acapella group Melodeacs said the group was excited to make their Lighting of the Quad debut.
“Christmas music is fun to sing especially with the lighting of the quad happening,” Philbin said.
One of the most popular performances was not by an acapella group, but rather the Jewish Student Group, who lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of “I Have a Little Driedel,” a hallmark song of the Hanukah anthology.
Freshman Student Union member Caleb Woody was excited to help provide this experience to his peers.
While Student Union runs the logistics of the event, they also added a meaningful philanthropy aspect by pairing up with the Volunteer Service Corps to run a clothing drive benefiting the Potter’s House, an organization that provides social services to the Winston-Salem community.
“I’m most looking forward to when we light the candles,” Woody said.
The event ended with a solemn yet hopeful moment with students and community members circling around the quad with candles in hand, passing light from person to person until the entire quad is illuminated.
President Hatch reminded the community that the tradition is not only beautiful but also symbolic.
“We illuminate our individual candle to remind us of the strength of a community such as Wake Forest,” Hatch said.
The tradition is also based in Christian symbolism, reminding us of our potential to bring peace and hope to those around us.
“I wish you light in this world symbolized by darkness,” Auman said.
In this season which is filled with stress, fear and anxiety, our community needs to be reminded by the light that carries us through the day more than ever.