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Students kickoff holiday season with annual Christmas lighting event

Christmas came early for ORU at the annual Christmas lighting on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Students gathered at the Hammer Center to celebrate the season and see the Prayer Garden illuminated with colored lights.

This year, Student Association partnered with the athletic department for the event. The men’s basketball team and coaches participated in the festivities and helped serve hot chocolate.

“It created a super fun atmosphere for students to get to know some of our athletes,” said junior public relations major Jamie Heiman, who was in charge of the event.

Students arrived early to get their free mugs and hot chocolate from the alumni association.

Some dressed in costumes, Santa hats or Christmas sweaters and participated in a fashion show on a catwalk. Those with the best costumes won free tickets to “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” premiere on Thursday, Nov. 19.

The Hammer Center was full of festivities.  A giant Christmas tree was decorated and placed in the center of the first floor, students voted on their favorite gingerbread houses, listened to Christmas music playing over the speakers and took pictures with Santa Claus in a sleigh.

Those who ventured outside into the cold went on carriage rides and a live band sang Christmas carols next to the Prayer Tower.

President Wilson and Mrs. Wilson welcomed everyone to the event and she read the story of the first Christmas to the crowd gathered in the Prayer Garden.

After the story was finished, the countdown to the Christmas lighting began.

Everyone counted from 10 to one, then the gardens lit up with 60,000 multi-colored lights and the crowd cheered.

The night ended with the Christmas classic “Home Alone” on the big screen.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the air even though it’s not even close to Christmastime yet,” said junior Micah Samuelson.

The SA staff was happy with how the event turned out.

“I think [everything] combined really captured the spirit of Christmas we wanted students to experience at this event,” said Heiman.

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