Tree lighting brings holiday cheer as students return from break

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SVSU’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) held its first Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 30, from 8:30p.m. until 10p.m.

“We decided to host this because we wanted there to be light at the end of the tunnel after a long semester,” said AMA President Heather Hodges. “We just want to celebrate the holidays together and to get students together before the break.”

Department of Management and Marketing Chair Mazen Jaber serves as the advisor for AMA, which formed last year. He suggested the event to the RSO.

“Our advisor is the one who pushed the event,” Hodges said. “He’s seen it work at other campuses, and he just thought it brought the students together.”

Preparing for the event was a rewarding but challenging task for those who took part in organizing it.

“At first, we were worried the event might not happen this year because there was so much planning that needed to be done, and our RSO is so busy,” said AMA Vice President Lance Anderson. “However, once Gabe Kasper was able to find a tree to use, everything started falling into place.”

AMA sold Christmas bulbs the week of the event that students could buy and decorate to put on the tree during the ceremony on Thursday night.

“(Forever Red) sold us these bulbs that we are now selling for the event,” Hodges said.

AMA hopes to partner with more RSOs for future Tree Lighting ceremonies.

“We talked about partnering with Coffee House to make more of a holiday karaoke next year,” Hodges said. “We definitely want to get more RSOs involved. We talked about doing a gingerbread house competition with Greek Life or other RSOs that want to sign up. We’re definitely going to start planning earlier next year so more people can be involved.”

AMA also will start planning earlier to make sure more community members can be involved and to find a sponsor.

“We want to start talking next semester to find a little more company support, like have a tree donated or something of that sort,” Hodges said.

This year, the ceremony featured free hot chocolate, cookies and several reindeer games for students to play.

Games included reindeer antler toss, ping pong, pin the carrot on the snowman and more. Anyone who completed all the games was entered to win one of many assorted gift cards.

Many students came to the event and enjoyed the festivities.

“I heard there was a tree lighting ceremony, so I thought I’d stop by,” theatre major Ross Macker said. “I didn’t do any of the games yet. I saw the free food and said, ‘Oh, cookies!’ and ran over there.”

Third-year pre-nursing student Ashley Hawthorne was also excited to hear about the tree lighting.

“It’s the first (tree lighting ceremony on campus), and I thought that was really cool,” Hawthorne said. “And I love Christmas. The hot cocoa has been my favorite thing so far. The M&M cookies were the best.”

AMA intends to make this an annual event.

“Our main goal is to make this a tradition that students talk about and look forward to each year,” Hodges said.

Anderson echoed that sentiment.

“The goal (of the tree lighting ceremony) is to give students something to look forward to each year after Thanksgiving break that maybe makes it a little bit easier to ease back