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Decorations awake Christmas spirit

Megan Doyle | Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Football season may be over, but another is just beginning, as festive decorations have appeared on dorms and lights have been hung to brighten buildings and trees around campus to commemorate the holidays.

Pat McCauslin, Superintendent Landscape Services, described his department’s role in the Christmas decorations as a service to the University that he works hard to perform.

“Landscape Services is responsible for hanging the community lights around campus and decorating some of the buildings like Corby Hall, Old College and the guard posts,” McCauslin said. “We also handle special requests from dorms to put up the decorations outside their halls, including trees over their porticos.”

Some of the Christmas features around campus include a nativity scene by the Grotto, a towering pine underneath the dome in the Main Building, a Christmas tree in O’Shaughnessy Hall and strands of lights on large trees near the main entrance and by the fire station.

McCauslin said approximately 30,000 to 35,000 lights adorn the trees and buildings throughout campus. Five or six Landscape Services employees hung the lights while students were away from campus over Thanksgiving break.

“I like the decorations that are up,” sophomore Jason G’Sell said. “But I do wish that the trees on South Quad had more lights on them.”

While Landscape Services factors cost and energy efficiency into its decorating process, changes to the campus decorations over the past several years have been minimal.

“Over the past few years, a few changes have been made, but mostly for when a tree just becomes too big to put lights on it or a case like that,” McCauslin said. “Those sort of adjustments help with our budget.”

Several of the buildings on campus, including the mail distribution center and the security posts, purchased more expensive LED lights in order to promote energy conservation.

Many of the residence halls personalize the decorations over their main entrances. For instance, McGlinn Hall hangs a giant shamrock above the front door in tribute to the hall mascot.

Father Ronald Veirling, Morrissey Hall rector, explained why the current decorations outside Morrissey may look a little comical.

“We do have a nativity scene out in front situated within the word ‘JOY.’ The ‘J’ went astray last year, and so we’re now reduced to ‘YO.’ I’m from Philadelphia, so it fits,” Veirling.

Other dorms decorated with lighted signs, such as Pangborn’s “Have a Foxy Christmas,” or Keough’s giant tree and presents.

“My favorite dorm is Keenan with all of the lights on the sides of the building, and the Christmas tree in O’Shag is another great one,” Farley senior Katie Rose Quandt said.
“We put up our traditional giant stockings — one for Monk and one for Father Sorin,” Sorin freshman Tom Oliver said. “Those are the best on campus.”

“My favorite decorations are the ones right here in Keough Hall,” Father Peter McCormick, Keough Hall rector, said. “However, if I had to choose some other options, I would say that the manger outside of the Grotto, followed by the Christmas tree in the Main Building.”

Both dining halls also embraced the spirit of Christmas with lights, trees­­­ and nativity scenes. South Dining Hall reported using roughly 4,000 lights in the serving areas alone, as well as bright red and green strands in the dining rooms.

“The lights in South Dining Hall are my favorite on campus,” freshman Alison Collins said. “I love eating surrounded by Christmas decorations because it really sets the mood for the holidays.”