Red and green lights shine on columns outlining the entrance to the Indiana Memorial Union Biddle Hotel. Students and children skate together on the skating rink,and holiday music blasts through the speakers. Snowflakes blow through the air under the lights illuminating the rink.
The circle drive is a sea of yellow glitter as students and families hold battery-operated candles made to model the 80-foot tall one they’re all anxiously waiting to see lit up on the side of the IMU tower. The crowd finishes its countdown, and the giant red button sitting on the stage is pressed. Heads turn to the tower where the candle flickers on.
The IMU hosted its inaugural “Light Up the Night” celebration at 7 p.m. Dec. 2. Sheets of synthetic ice were placed on the drive to allow for ice skating and birthday cake was handed out in honor of the 110th birthday of the IMU occurring on Dec. 6. A cappella groups, Resting Pitch Face and the Singing Hoosiers, also performed holiday songs for the crowd.
Freshman Bella Happel shuffles around the ice skating rink. In one hand is her candle, and the other is held by her friend as they laugh and try to balance on the slippery surface.
“I think that it’s important to create a community where we can all come together and celebrate the holiday season,” Happel said. “Especially with these next few weeks being the hardest of the semester, this event and the holiday season in general serves as a nice break from all the work I have waiting for me in my dorm room.”
The candle hung on the Biddle Hotel tower holds 150 red bulbs and 33 white bulbs. The neighboring candle located on the student involvement tower stands 60 feet tall and is composed of 88 red bulbs and 34 white bulbs. Last year, the lights were replaced with energy-efficient LED bulbs.
“The lights that are about to be lit, to me, are a universal symbol that represents everything that IU is supposed to be during the holidays: a home away from home, a place where all of our traditions can be celebrated,” Union Board president Patricia Cornejo said. “It’s an exciting time to be here, it’s an exciting time to be at a university that welcomes all and every tradition.”