November 18, 2010 — The 10th annual "Lighting of the Lawn" ceremony at the University of Virginia will take place Dec. 2 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Festivities will begin with a series of performances from a variety of student musical groups, including the Virginia Belles and the Academical Village People. Later in the evening, the reading of an original poem, composed by members of the fourth-year class trustees as a lighthearted reminiscence of the past year, will culminate in the flip of a switch to turn on the estimated 11,000 white lights.
Notable features this year include the lighting of Old Cabell Hall for the first time in many years, as well as lights outlining the arch of the Rotunda roof. In keeping with the University’s sustainability efforts, the lights feature low-energy LED bulbs. Dominion Virginia Power donated the majority of the lights in 2008.
Lighting of the Lawn is planned and hosted by the Class of 2011 and its board of trustees with assistance from offices throughout the University. Teams from U.Va.'s Facilities Management began the job of stringing the lights – approximately 4,000 feet in length – in mid-November. The lights will remain lit at night throughout the winter holiday season, coming down sometime around Jan. 3.
The first Lighting of the Lawn was held in December 2001 as a means of bringing the University community together after a difficult semester marked by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since then, the event has grown into a festive occasion for students to celebrate the end of the semester prior to the start of exams and the greatly anticipated Winter Break.
Fourth-year class trustees Ellen McCarthy and Bollie McLemore are serving as co-chairs of this year's event. "Lighting of the Lawn is one of U.Va.'s younger traditions, but has grown to become one of the most popular University-wide events," McCarthy said.
"The event began with the intention of bringing the community together," McLemore said. "Ten years later we are looking forward to once again uniting a diverse group of community members, allowing them to reflect on the past year while celebrating the spirit of the holiday season."