The JSU campus became much brighter after the annual JSU in Lights on Monday, November 30. The traditional event marks the official start of the holiday season across campus as it attracted students, faculty and community members alike to the decorated front steps of Bibb Graves Hall.
The event started with a performance by the Christmas hat adorned JSU Chamber Singers. Featuring Christmas carols, the group performed on the front steps surrounded by bright poinsettias, garland and several unlit Christmas trees. “It was an honor that President Beehler invited Chamber Singers to sing,” said Jessie Hill, a member of Chamber Singers and a Junior at JSU.
In addition to enjoying the holiday cheer, the SGA hosted their annual toy drive as well. “Everyone brought gifts for children and is spreading Christmas cheer all around,” said Destiny Jordan, a member of Freshman Forum.
The toy drive is a service project that helps bring all of the community together, and helps make Christmas possible for children that would otherwise not have one. Roxanne Bailey, an ambassador at JSU, said, “JSU in Lights is my favorite event of the entire year because it brings all of JSU and the community together in the name of community service and Christmas, and you can practically feel the cheer in the air.”
President Beehler helped ring in the festivities with a short speech among the unlit decorations. “The future is very bright for JSU,” Beehler said.
The Jacksonville Council President Mark Jones also attended the event and said JSU in Lights is “a great opportunity for the city and university to work together.”
In the past JSU in Lights has been celebrated at the house of the president, but because of ongoing renovations, it was moved to Bibb Graves. SGA President Tyler Brown said the change was a great way to “embrace the tradition while bringing in the new.”
As the darkness began to settle over the campus, President Beehler again took to the stage to begin the actual lighting of the campus.
With the “magic button” in tow, he led an excited countdown with the crowd before sparking the lights. The decorations included the trees, the garland, and a giant wreath. The top level of the library was also decorated with its customary star and the new addition of red lights.
In addition to the festivities, refreshments were served and everyone was welcomed to enjoy the inside decorations of Bibb Graves. Inside the Gold Room, a long table featured an array of Christmas cookies shaped like snowmen and trees.
Decorative poinsettias lined the room, and it hosted a tall tree decorated in everything Christmas and JSU. Students lingered to take photos with friends, and families brought their children to share in the magic.
“JSU in Lights is my favorite event of the year because you get to see family and friends, and all of you here are my family,” Brown said.