Christmas tree lighting brings out large crowd despite cold weather

As the lamp posts were lit with holiday lights and a light layer of snow covered the University Green, friends and family of the Seton Hall community huddled around SHU’s annual Christmas tree, waiting for its luminous glow.

The tree lighting ceremony started tonight with a performance by the Seminary Choir at 6 p.m. and was followed by the step team; however, students and family started gathering on the Green at 5 p.m. where various activities were set up.

Member of the Student Alumni Association and sophomore Louisa Ozimek said SAA is an organization that promotes school spirit, so it set up various activities to do that, such as a booth where students can take a picture with the Pirate and a stand for decorating ornaments, which was all new this year.

“We’re expecting it to be a lot more crowded and productive because of the large student body,” Ozimek said. “So, I’m excited.”

Freshman Allyson Redd said she was “super excited” about the event and said she wasted no time decorating ornaments and getting her picture taken with the Pirate.

Redd said she was “trying to take a good picture” for the photo contest that was also going on.

Gourmet Dining Services set up a table where hot beverages were served, such as hot chocolate and apple cider.

Sophomore Isabella Sacco said she looked forward to the event itself and especially the hot chocolate.

“I’m excited. It’s cold, but it’s worth it because it’s pretty,” Sacco said. “And, there’s hot chocolate so I’m even more excited.”

Junior Kara Caroccio said she was happy that there was snow on the ground this year and was excited to “see Seton Hall glow.”

“I’m excited because there’s snow on the ground and there wasn’t last year,” Caracoccio said.

Another new addition of this year’s event was DOVE’s table to collect toys for families affected by Sandy.

According to the Director of DOVE Michelle Peterson, the toys will be donated to a community in West Virginia, a soup kitchen and the surrounding South Orange and Maplewood area, along with some other individual requests.

“Our goal is to collect 1,000 toys this year,” Peterson said.

She said that DOVE will be accepting toy donations up until finals begin and whoever donates will receive a Pirate press-on to go on the Santa hats that were being given away.

“I don’t remember DOVE collecting toys last year, so I’m excited for that,” Carococcio said.

When the ceremony was ready to begin and the tree to be lit, a huge crowd of Santa-hat-wearing students, faculty, friends and family joined together, some even standing on the balcony of Jubilee Hall, in silence and watched as the tree brightened up the campus.

Freshmen Amanda Smith and Zachary Bimonte both said they enjoyed their first experience at the Christmas tree lighting and look forward to going next year.

“I thought it was fun,” Smith said. “It was nice to be with the whole school.”

“I haven’t experienced anything like that before,” Bimonte said. “I would do it again.”

Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at

Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

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