’Tis the Week for Holiday Happenings on Grounds

December 02, 2012

The 12th annual Lighting of the Lawn, to be held Thursday in the University of Virginia’s historic Academical Village, will continue a tradition begun in 2001 when the fourth-year trustees, who sponsor and host the event, looked for a way to bring the University community together in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The event highlights a busy week of holiday events as the fall semester comes to a close.

To expand upon the Lighting of the Lawn tradition, the Class of 2013 trustees have focused on giving back to the community by raising funds for a community cause. This year, they will raise money for Hope House, a transitional housing program that helps homeless families in the Charlottesville area get back on their feet. The program is overseen by the Monticello Area Community Action Agency.

Jenna Dagenhart and Alexa Wauben, fourth-year students in the College of Arts & Sciences who co-chair the Lighting of the Lawn committee, are looking forward to an evening filled with not only music and camaraderie, but also the spirit of giving.

“Lighting of the Lawn serves as a warm reminder of why compassion and giving must not be forgotten,” Dagenhart said. “It can be a high-stress time of year, but the U.Va. student body and Charlottesville community are still taking time to donate selflessly to Hope House.”

The committee is asking donors to sponsor columns, strands or individual lights, ranging in amounts from $5 to $200. Those wishing to donate can do so online or at the event.

This year’s celebration will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. and is open to all community members. U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan will kick off the evening by welcoming the crowd, expected to reach 7,000 over the course of the night. Approximately 20 a cappella groups will perform at various intervals on the Rotunda steps. The evening will culminate with the illumination of the Lawn, immediately following the reading of a humorous poem noting the U.Va.-themed highlights of 2012 by Larry Sabato, a professor of politics in the College and director of U.Va.’s Center for Politics, and School of Nursing Dean Dorrie Fontaine. Warm refreshments and light snacks will also be provided.

Facilities Management workers began the job of stringing more than 4,000 feet of lights in mid-November, including a new feature: rope lights on the Rotunda columns. “Rope lights encase the bulbs in a clear, plastic tube. This provides additional protection, and they do a great job of outlining the shape of the columns,” Mike Merriam, associate director for facilities maintenance, said.

In keeping with the University’s sustainability efforts, Lighting of the Lawn is an environmentally responsible event using low-energy LED lights, the majority of which were donated by Dominion Virginia Power in 2008.

The Lawn will remain illuminated at night throughout the winter holiday season, with the lights coming down around Jan. 3.

Holiday Open House at Carr’s Hill

Two days before the Lighting of the Lawn event, faculty, staff and students are invited to Tuesday’s annual Holiday Open House at Carr’s Hill. The reception will last from 3 to 6 p.m. Parking will be available on Carr’s Hill Road and in the Culbreth Road Garage. This is a casual event, so guests are encouraged to come as they are and as their schedule permits.

This year, U.Va. is participating in the 2012 Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic. In advance of the Dec. 22 men’s basketball doubleheader in Richmond, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has challenged the participating schools to support their area food bank. Sullivan is co-chairing the University’s competition against Old Dominion University in a food drive, running through Dec. 15, to benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

At this year’s Holiday Open House, Carr’s Hill will accept donations to benefit the food bank. Faculty, staff and students may join the effort by making monetary donations on site. Donations may also be made through the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. Pledge cards and CVC materials will also be available at the open house. For information about the CVC, click here or call 924-1321.

U.Va. Bookstores Offer Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week

Dec. 3 through 9 is Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week at the U.Va. Bookstores. Present your U.Va. I.D. when shopping to receive a 20 percent discount on purchases (some exclusions apply). For questions, call 924-3721.

Music Sets the Mood

The McIntire Department of Music in the College of Arts & Sciences is also presenting several concerts this week, from long-standing traditions such as the Messiah Sing-In to chamber music and Klezmer performances.  Click here to read more.

Media Contact

Rebecca P. Arrington

Assistant Director of Media Relations Office of University Communications