Highlights: Lighting of the Quads

Despite being rained out of the original date, the Johns Hopkins University community gathered for the twelfth annual Lighting of the Quads on December 7, 2016. This annual tradition marks the end of the fall semester. It is also provides the community an opportunity to celebrate the winter season. Most importantly, Lighting of the Quads unites campus community members from across the institution. While Lighting of the Quads is traditionally set in front of the iconic Gilman Hall, it was relocated to Wyman Quad this year as Keyser Quad undergoes construction. The change in location was an opportunity for the planning committee to play with concepts of light and enlightenment. Consequently, Lighting of the Quads featured a number of new additions that created a beautiful, festive atmosphere.

Community Art Brings New Life to Lighting of the Quads

Baltimore native artist, Scott Pennington, shared his sculptures that has been featured at Light City Baltimore. Mr. Pennington’s retro-carnival inspired artwork emphasized the atmosphere of celebration and community. The lit sculptures helped transform the Lower Quad into a festival space. The unique sculptures encouraged attendees to gather for photos together and to appreciate Mr. Pennington’s art.

The Digital Media Center constructed “Enlighten” especially for the occasion. Participants responded to prompts about the light in their lives by drawing with acrylic paint markers and their imagination.

A photo of students drawing on an interactive, LED powered art installation.

Students contribute their drawings to “Enlighten” by the Digital Media Center.

More Activities, More Fun!

Attendees relived their childhood on the portable roller skating rink that was set up on Levering Courtyard. They skated to the sounds of holiday music coming from the Quad. A few groups helped each other navigate the often congested rink. Some attendees laughed with each other as many people put on skates for the first time.

Offices, departments, and student groups offered even more engaging activities for attendees. These activities included Chinese culture trivia and lanterns; an LED ornament craft; a snow tent; a kinetic sand relaxation station; a bamboo plant craft; and more. Attendees kept warm with hot chocolate, cider and coffee. Delicious donuts, s’mores, gingerbread cookies, and kettle corn kept everyone full. Additionally, Lighting of the Quads featured a live ice sculptor, stilt walkers, and the JHU Entertainer’s Club. Spring Fair even revealed this year’s theme “Funkytown” at Lighting of the Quads.

A Touching Spectacular

The ceremony began at 7 PM. Anna Du, the Executive Vice President of the Student Government Association, served as the emcee. Miss Du introduced Ketzev, the All Nighters, and the Sirens who sang familiar holiday tunes in front of the crowd of over 1,500 people. Provost Sunil Kumar gave the keynote remarks for the evening. Provost Kumar addressed the JHU community with wit and humor. Despite his jokes, Provost Kumar called us all to reflect on the importance of light in our lives.

“Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from untruth to truth. Lead me from mortality to immortality,” Kumar said quoting the Pavamana. “Perhaps this lighting is more than just turning on a fake switch. Maybe it’s a symbol of all of us trying to go from less truthiness to more truthiness.”

The ceremony concluded when Provost Kumar led a countdown and flipped the switch. Subsequently, a laser show created a ceiling of wonderful color above the crowd. It was a remarkable moment, albeit different from Lighting of the Quads of previous years. The spectacle, however, served its purpose in reminding members of the JHU community of their responsibility to each other and the world.



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