Perhaps the only redeeming thing about the first week of December and the onslaught of Old Man Winter is that it sets up a wonderful scene for one of the best modern traditions at the University: the Lighting of the Lawn.
This year’s Lighting of the Lawn had a theme of Brighter Together, a hope-inspired theme reflective of University and world current events. Acapella groups were asked to perform not only individual sets, but also together with other Acapella groups on grounds for a fun twist to some old traditions.
Serving as emcees for the evening were Virginia Cavaliers track and field star Pobo Ekeforo and softball pitcher Erika Osherow. Ekeforo is a four-time All-American shot putter, finishing third last year, a seven-time All-ACC honoree, a competitive chess player, and now a Batten student. Osherow pitched three complete games last year, including a shutout, and helped found the “Kindness Rocks” project, which puts anonymous positive remarks around Grounds.
What’s super cool about this year’s event was that the entire light display — 1960 watts and somewhere around 1000 lights — was powered by solar energy. The Class Council’s Lighting of the Lawn Committee partnered with another CIO, the Charlottesville Solar Project, through third-year Comm school student Erik Toor, who serves as a member of both, to power the event. Through grants and donations, including four solar panels from Sun Tribe, the entire light show was powered through clean, sustainable solar power.
You can watch the video below for the entire LOTL event. President Jim Ryan, in his first year as President of the University, alongside University Police Chief Tommye Sutton and Nursing School Dean Dorrie Fontaine, read the students’ poem as the special guests of the evening. These words from Officer Sutton were particularly resounding:
We’ve experienced several immense challenges in our past
But this is our University to shape and we’ll make it last
Let us remember that we are not invisible
And that this community will stand indivisible
For just the lighting celebration, you can jump to the 2:15:18 mark below: