The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

UWL rings in the holidays with the first ever Campus Holiday Tree Lighting event

Lit up tree on the Student Union Lawn. Picture taken by John Gaynor.

On Thursday, Nov. 16, students and faculty gathered on the Student Union Lawn and watched the tree lighting, an event put on by the Administration and Finance Department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

The event offered complimentary holiday themed cookies and hot chocolate as well as a mystery special guest as advertised in an email from Chancellor Gow to the student body. Students gathered around the lawn as Gow spoke to the crowd, he welcomed everyone and finally revealed the special guest. “I think I see Santa Claus!” said Gow.  

Santa Claus made his way through the crowd while Gow commented on how unseasonably mild the weather was, to which Santa responded, “So mild my sleigh couldn’t go very well Chancellor Gow. I had to ride my electric bike!”  

Santa also said that despite how busy of a season it is for him and his elves, he has still managed to make time to visit UW campuses across the state. “In fact, last week I was over at Oshkosh, and you know what? They showed up as bad people on my list.” said Santa. “No presents for those Titans… but here at UW-La Crosse, you Eagles, all of you people, you’re on the good list!”  

Gow next introduced Scott Brown, the director of Facilities Management at UWL, who spearheaded the tree lighting event. Brown mentioned the department had been talking about putting a tree up in front of the Student Union since last summer but had only started planning the tree lighting event within the last couple months 

In addition to the planning, Brown also talked about when the tree and lights would be taken down. “We’ll take it down when weather permits… sometime in January, with all the holiday lights on campus we kind of wait and see,” he said.  

During the holiday season campus buildings and monuments like the Hoechler Tower are decorated with string lights each year. This is the first year a tree this large has been set up on the Student Union Lawn. Brown said that as of now, there are plans for the tree to return next holiday season. 

Brown credited Dr. Bob Hetzel, the vice chancellor of the Administration and Finance Department, for the idea that little things, such as holiday lights around campus, are what set UWL apart from other universities as well as keep student’s spirits high during the often-long winter months.  

The Racquet Press talked to Hetzel about the tree itself. “The tree is 36 feet tall, the star is three feet tall, so it’s almost 40 feet tall,” he said. Hetzel explained that the tree was shipped to UWL from Minnesota on a flatbed truck.  

Hetzel said, “Last year we lit up the clock tower, the year before that we put the wreaths on the parking ramp and this year it’s the holiday tree.” Hetzel said that every year they try to outdo what they did in the year prior. “Each year we try to go a little step further to light up the campus.” 

The Racquet Press talked to some of the students that were in attendance. Chase Laughlin said, “I think that UWL is one of the best places to have the holiday spirit!” Laughlin also talked about snow. “I love snow!” he said. He told The Racquet Press that he grew up in Alaska, so he is most comfortable around large amounts of snow. “Wisconsin is it’s own little piece of a snowy paradise.” 

Attendees Emma Sampselle and Taylor Dobush also shared their opinions on the holiday season, Dobush said, “I love Christmas! It’s my favorite season.” Sampselle added on and said, “I love the cold and the snow. It makes everything prettier!”  

The tree outside of the Student Union is lit up now and until the end of the winter season so be sure to stop by enjoy it as well as to be on the lookout for the other festive decorations around campus. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jackson Skarp
Jackson Skarp, Student Government Reporter
  • Year at UWL: Sophomore
  • PGPs: He/Him/His
  • Hometown: Cottage Grove, MN
  • Major: Communication Studies
  • Minor: Legal Studies and Philosophy
  • Other Campus Involvement: Pre-Law Society Member
  • Future Plans after Graduation: I plan on attending law school after graduation
  • Favorite activity in La Crosse: Finding new coffee shops to study at.
Donate to The Racquet Press

Comments (0)

All The Racquet Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *