What started as a small project intended to beautify the campus area has since been built upon to bring the Ohio State community together. For the second year, Light Up North Area, also known as LUNA, will light up the new North Residential District Wednesday.
Hosted by Ohio Staters Inc., the signature Ohio State event is the annual ceremony of the hanging of seasonal lights and has been a university tradition since 2003.
“One of the things that we really strive to do [is] to bring the whole community together,” said Madolyn Desch, second-year in international business and fashion and co-chair of LUNA. “We hang about 50,000 lights which is to represent each student at Ohio State. It’s kind of a community enhancement to bring everyone together when it’s finals time and everyone is stressed.”
New this year, the event will feature student performers from an Ohio State a cappella group, Buck That!, as well as returning performances from Off The Lake Productions, Genesis and the Ohio State Club Dance Team. Insomnia Cookies and hot chocolate also will be served.
With the help of university departments like Facilities Operations and Development, members of Ohio Staters Inc. spent close to four hours hanging lights for Wednesday’s ceremony. Following the refreshments and performances, students will gather together for a candlelit rendition of Carmen Ohio along the Oak Walk before the lights are officially lit.
For Margaret Meyo, third-year in finance and co-chair of LUNA, the tradition is a great opportunity to directly interact with students while serving the ever-growing campus population.
“We’ve kind of expanded every year since we are a signature event on campus,” Meyo said. “We buy more lights because as the student population grows, the number of bulbs per student also grows. We have found [new] places to hang those lights, you’ll see some on the [North Recreation Center] and some of the lamp posts … but they are pretty much on the Oak Walk.”
The event has historically been centered around Mirror Lake, but due to construction the group had to relocate last year. The new area has provided a suitable space for the tradition, although the group anticipates moving back to Mirror Lake once construction is finished.
Sam Koziol, third-year in marketing and co-chair of LUNA, said the best part of having the lights in their temporary location was the reminder of his service to the campus community.
“My sophomore year I lived in Bowen House and I would look outside my window down the Oak Walk and it was a really cool experience to see the lights up and know that I was a part of that,” Koziol said.
The event is intended to kick off the holiday season, but the lights will be displayed through February to help illuminate the darker winter nights and boost morale.
“Just seeing how everyone reacts to it is really special,” Desch said. “[By] seeing pictures of the lights throughout the season as they are up, you see that impact more than just after the event actually happens, but throughout the entire time that the lights are up.”
Refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 6:30 p.m.