On Friday, Dec. 3, University students, staff and members of the surrounding community gathered for the annual Tree Lighting at the Oreo. This was the first lighting ceremony since December 2019, since no students were on campus at this time last year
The Villanova Campus Activities Team (CAT) hosted the event and will host several other “Christmas at Villanova” events throughout the first two weeks of December. When asked about how it felt to be back on campus during the holiday season, several community members responded that they had missed the festivities last year and were eager for the ability to attend the tree lighting again.
“It was so nice to have that sense of community again that we have been lacking since we have been inside so much throughout the pandemic,” junior Isabella Bruck said.
Bruck had not seen the tree lighting at the University since her freshman year, and she was excited that the freshmen and sophomores got to experience the event for their first time on Friday
The weather was pleasant on the evening of the event, and the gusting wind from the afternoon was no longer present. It was warmer than most evenings during the week, which also drew in more members of the community and students.
The event began at 5:30 p.m, with a performance of holiday tunes, as well as a welcome message from University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D., following an introduction by Student Body President Caroline Levine. Father Peter counted down the lighting, and the tree in the center of the Riley Ellipse lit up. The tree was covered in small white lights and topped with a star, and all who had gathered applauded the lighting. The Villanova Voices and Villanova Singers continued to sing as community members took photographs and enjoyed the tree’s beauty.
“The tree lighting was a fun way for the campus to get into the Christmas spirit,” junior Mateo Ugarte said. “The tree looked great, and I’m looking forward to seeing it lit up on campus
Aside from the tree itself, CAT also organized food trucks, Bundt cakes and hot chocolate available for those who attended. Students enjoyed their hot drinks throughout the tree lighting, and the food trucks included barbeque, crêpes, the “Munchie Machine” and several others. The crêpe truck seemed to attract the most people, and their flavors included Boston cream, s’mores and Nutella with strawberries.
Ugarte opted for a s’mores crêpe, complete with Nutella, marshmallow fluff, and graham cracker crumbs.
“The hot chocolate and food trucks were my favorite part of the night, especially the crêpe I got,” he said.
”I had tacos and a pretzel and free hot chocolate,” Bruck said.
She seemed to enjoy them, and she appreciated the warmth of the hot chocolate while waiting in line for her food.
Some other events thus far have included Holiday Quizzo on Thursday night, as well as a day trip to New York City, choir concert and a “Christmas on the Green '' event on Saturday. The week of Dec. 6 also offers gingerbread and ornament decorating, along with a “Holiday Village and Night Market” on Thursday, Dec. 9.