Rider’s Lawrenceville campus might not be trimming its trees with lights this holiday season, but will instead illuminate its students’ spirits by embracing various religions and celebrating their beliefs.
Students and faculty will join together on Thursday, December 9, for the annual Celebration of Lights, sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Affairs, at 5 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center Cavalla Room.
“Traditionally, many people primarily acknowledge Christmas and Hanukkah, but there are many other beautiful holidays overlooked this time of year, that deserve ample acknowledgement,” said senior Samantha Gallo, a Psychology major who is coordinating the event.
Rider is fortunate not only to have a diverse student body, but also the ability to host an event that honors everything the season has to offer. The Center for Multicultural Affairs not only supports its members, but will, along with other student organizations, host holiday booths representing Kwanzaa, Eid al-Adha, Three Kings Day, Boxing Day, Diwali, as well as Christmas and Hanukkah. Each station will share food traditional to that holiday’s culture.
“Everyone who has attended in the past has gotten very involved in each of the holiday stations,” says Gallo. “It is the most unity I have seen at Rider, as students openly embrace and accept an array of diverse beliefs.”
A broad range of student organizations participate in the campuswide event, including the Black Student Union, Asian Students at Rider, the Latin American Student Organization, Rider’s Organization of Caribbean Affiliated Students, Protestant Campus Ministry, Hillel and the Catholic Campus Ministry.
In an effort to preserve the tradition of the event, Dr. William Guthrie, professor of Education, will light Rider’s unity candle to begin the ceremony. Amid the mingling, noshing, and learning, Rider’s Gospel Choir will perform a number of holiday songs to set the mood for the merry occasion. Vocalamation, an a cappella group at Rider, will then close the event with a set of joyous tunes.
“Celebration of Lights has always been a peaceful way to embrace and experience different cultures,” says Gallo. “This has been my favorite event at Rider, for it is a truly enjoyable and joyous occasion as a number of traditions to come together.”