The 2016 Lighting of the Lawn took place last night, Dec. 1, as per the fifteen year long tradition. The custom began in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Lighting of the Lawn was the University’s attempt to bring people together for a night of fun and joy and to help everyone cope with the sadness and tragedy that the attacks brought over the nation and the entire world.
The idea proved to be highly successful event appreciated by all students; so much so that fifteen years later, students and the Charlottesville community still come together and spectate the annual Lighting of the Lawn.
Last night’s event was no exception. When guests began to appear on the Lawn, they helped themselves to some cozy hot chocolate and cider and indulged in some scrumptious cookies, all while admiring the new and refurbished Rotunda. Pavilions VIII, and X were also open to the public, furnishing everyone with food and drinks, while Pavilions I, IV, V, and IX were open to the Darden Community, the UVA Center for Politics, the Class of 2017, and Students of the School of Nursing respectively.
Despite the cold, thousands of people from both the University and the Charlottesville community attended the show, slowly flooding in throughout the night just in time for the 10pm light show.
While awaiting the Lighting of the Lawn, the crowd was entertained by the University of Virginia’s Acapella choirs, which included The Virginia Glee Club, Charlottesville High School’s Sirens, The First Harmonics, Albemarle High School’s No Fella A Cappella, The Radio Music Society, Jubilate, Ektaal, The AcHoostics, Hoos in the Stairwell, The Virginia No Tones, CHoosE, Virginia Women’s Chorus, The New Dominions, Hoos in Treble, The Harmonious Hoos, Hullabahoos, Remix, The Academical Village People, The Sil’hooettes, The University Singers, The Virginia Belles, The Flying V’s, and The Virginia Gentlemen.
X-Tasee and Sharaara, two of the University’s dance groups, were also part of the show, bringing a new level of excitement.
Many representatives of the University’s associations also got the chance to introduce themselves and raise awareness for their organizations such as Madison House, E-School Graduates, members from the University of Virginia’s Volleyball and Football teams, the Curry School Council, the College Council, the Hot Kids Comedy group, the Weathermen, Alpha Phi Omega, Minority Rights Coalition, Hoos Got Your Back, Green Dot, Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Group, Batten School, E-School Council, and the LGBTQ Center.
Right before the Lighting, Class Poems were read by Professor Teresa Davis, Dean Tabitha A. Enoch, and Former Police Chief Timothy Longo, making the audience laugh and cheer as they reminisced the semester’s accomplishments.
Finally, after the countdown, the light show began, and glow stick and balls seemed to take flight above the crowd. Students and the Community sung along to the songs that were synchronized with the light show and cheered as everyone enjoyed coming together.
The full live stream of the 16th Annual Lighting of the Lawn is now available on the Lighting of the Lawn website and a gallery of the night’s highlights is posted below.