By Zachary Graham

The Festival of lights is an annual event that Bryant University holds every winter season. It is an all-day event that allows the students to take part in festive events and to get their holiday cheer on. As finals are creeping around the corner, Wednesday’s festivals were a sigh of relief for many. This was a day of fun for everyone from the freshman feeling home sick missing sitting by the tree and fire, to seniors worrying about their looming keystone projects. Bryant’s very own Student Alumni Association helped run and staff this event.

The Rotunda activities started in the morning amidst student’s classes, and went through the midafternoon. With live music from musician Dave Binder, people could feel the holiday cheer. Many student run organizations were holding arts and crafts, as well as cookie decoration. Many students lined up to decorate their cookies and enjoyed a cookie while waiting in-between classes. Special appearances from Santa and Mrs. Claus was truly a warm surprise as many took pictures with the jolly couple. In the season of giving and caring, there were stations where students could write friendly letters to soldiers overseas that couldn’t make it home for this holiday. Those who defend our country so that we can sit with our families around a Christmas tree every year. For those students who were getting a kick start of their finals studying in the Fischer Center, there were also welcomed with warm cider and cookies.

Many people started to gather around 6:00pm to socialize and get ready for the night time events. Those who showed up early were gifted with beverages and delicious snacks. Toys for Tots, a non-profit organization that makes sure all children get gifts for the holidays, was there and many people were generous to donate toys to those less fortunate. The night time activities kicked off a little after 7:00pm with music and dance from around the world. Different religions from around the world shared their culture in one spectacular event. The infamous candle lighting came right after, where President Machtley lit the candles signifying the unity of our campus. Many students piled into the Rotunda to participate and come together for the holidays. Next, students and faculty flocked to the Fischer lawn where the Christmas tree and the Menorah were lit. Followed by live music from Bryant’s very own Jazz Band who gave a breath taking performance. After standing in the cold, everyone warmed up with hot chocolate and cookies.

Overall, Wednesday was a very exciting day that brought together the entire Bryant University campus. With days seeming shorter and only memories of warmer days, it was a wonderful gathering that got everyone’s mind off the struggles and on to happy times. This year’s Festival of Lights was an enjoyment for all that participated and has us all looking forward to the holidays that follow. A special thank you is deserved to all the students and faculty who donated, wrote letters and helped run this event.