Seniors react to last Celebration of Lights ceremony

By Gabrielle Faulkner

Before finals kick off. Before the workload seems to double. Before college comes to an end. The SMU community took the time to light up campus with holiday cheer together. The sentiment of community resonated through the crowd like the passing of the flame to light the ceremonial candles.

Dallas Hall was illuminated at the annual Celebration of Lights on Monday night with a crowd of more than 200 student, faculty, and neighbors. The SMU tradition is the staple holiday event, and for senior Brianna Hogg it was a time to reflect on her favorite tradition of them all.

“When the lights turn on, you can definitely see the joy and smiles on people’s faces. That is the best feeling ever,” SMU senior Brianna Hogg said.

Hogg is a senior from Dallas, Texas. After transferring to SMU in 2014, she experienced her first Celebration of Lights. Her SMU experience has been sprinkled with many fond memories, but this was a magical experience that brought her back to childhood.

“I felt like a little girl all over again,” Hogg said.

In 2015, Hogg joined Student Foundation and was involved in planning the Celebration of Lights for the Centennial celebration. As campus events catering coordinator, she took on the task of organizing the food for the celebration. She spent her time constantly planning out the logistics, but her work paid off.

“It was so well worth it at the end, especially to see all the food gone and to see the students and guests asking for more,” Hogg said.

The hot cocoa is a staple every year. This year not much warmth was needed in the sixty-degree weather. The celebration was still festive as the tradition of passing the flame carried on. One by one friends passed along the flame to illuminate Dallas Hall lawn by candlelight.

Mariah Williams, senior, has performed in the program for all four years with the Voices of Inspiration Gospel Choir.

“I think what I’ll miss most about [sic] is that this is one of the few things that brings all of campus together. No hatred, no drama, no exclusion,” Williams said.

As seniors, the last year is a time of preparation and reflection. Every tradition echoes the upcoming final transition of graduation. Perhaps this will be her last time as an undergrad, but she plans to visit in the upcoming years.

“There is no doubt that I will be returning for more years to come,” Hogg said.

Alumni use the holiday season to visit the campus and reminisce on their undergraduate experience at SMU. The lights and warmth of the campus have a way of bringing back the good memories. Some of their fondest memories of Celebration of Lights echo the sentiment of community.

Idia Edokpayi, class of 2007, took the time to reflect on her appreciation for the tradition.

“I come back because Celebration of Lights remains a special time of sharing, festivity, and togetherness,” 2007 alumna Idia Edokpayi said.

The holiday season has begun at SMU, and it will continue to be a pillar of community. For seniors, it remains a positive memory of community at SMU.

“No matter what our differences may be, it was just something about Celebration of Lights that brought people together,” Hogg said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.