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Traditional Lighting of the Quad Welcomes Christmas Season to Mississippi College Nov. 29

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The first time Mallory Burnside gathered with her friends in the cold, dark night, joined excited voices marking a countdown, and witnessed the Quad at Mississippi College suddenly bathed in glittering Christmas lights, she found the stunning transformation from darkness to light especially poignant.

“It was a very cheerful and exciting experience,” the junior marketing major from Clinton recalled about last year’s Lighting of the Quad at MC. “It was the first time I saw the campus gather together for a celebration since I was a freshman during Covid.

The experience was so impactful that she volunteered to serve as board chair for the student Lighting of the Quad Committee at MC. Helping to plan this year’s event let Burnside combine two of her passions – Christmas and student involvement.

“The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year,” she said. “I am very involved in MC student engagement committees, and I love creating memorable events for the students at MC.”

This year’s Lighting of the Quad, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 29, promises to be every bit as exceptional as Burnside’s first. When the lights are switched on at 7 p.m., attendees will be dazzled by how the heart of MC’s campus has been decorated for the Christmas season. Tickets are not necessary to attend the free event.

Jonathan Nutt, assistant dean of students at MC, said the annual event is the perfect way for MC faculty, staff, students, and local residents to kick off their holidays on the Clinton campus.

“It’s definitely one of our biggest traditions,” Nutt said. “Looking at Christmas lights makes people happy. The lights bring a lot of joy to people and reflect the love of Christ.

“It’s important for us to celebrate the season and the birth of Jesus. That is essential to our mission and our commitment to the cause of Christ.”

Burnside said that Lighting of the Quad represents an important morale boost for MC students.

“When the end of the semester is so near, finals and responsibilities can take a toll on students,” she said. “Lighting of the Quad is a wonderful way to take a break, relax, and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.”

Along with the impressive light display, the ceremony will include a number of family-friendly activities. Among the highlights:

- A special MC guest will read the Christmas story, sharing the Gospel account of Jesus’s birth and explaining why Christians worldwide celebrate the season.

- MC’s social clubs and tribes will participate in a lively Christmas tree-decorating contest open to outside organizations.

- A “snow” machine will produce an abundance of fine powder to help create the perfect setting for selfies or Christmas card photos.

“I love seeing all of the pictures and memories made after the event,” Burnside said. “MC students love to post their pictures. My Instagram feed will be filled with smiles and excitement for the Christmas season.”

- Turner the Train, named for Louis Turner, who laid all the bricks in the streets of Olde Towne Clinton, will provide rides around the Quad.

- Children and adults will kick off their shoes and jump for joy in a special holiday bounce house.

- Talented MC student and faculty musicians and singers will add to the festive atmosphere with popular and original selections of Christmas music.

“I love the feeling of being overwhelmed with joy from all of the Christmas music and lights,” Burnside said. “It makes it feel like Christmas is near.”

- To reflect the true meaning of the Christmas season, attendees will be invited to join MC students and faculty in writing letters to inmates in a local correctional facility as part of a special service project.

- A variety of complimentary hot beverages and tasty treats will help attendees stay warm.

- The Lighting of the Quad would not be complete without a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Lighting of the Quad provides an opportunity for MC faculty and staff to celebrate the season with students before they leave for Christmas break, Nutt said.

“The professional lighting will remain up, and Nelson Hall will be decked in red and green throughout the holiday season,” he said. “But we try to do as much as we can to celebrate Christmas and enjoy each other’s company before the students go home for the semester.”

When they do leave, Burnside said she hopes they will take some of the spirit they shared during Lighting of the Quad home with them.

“I would love for attendees to leave excited that they were able to celebrate Christmas with their friends before they went home for the holidays,” she said. “Hopefully, the event will encourage students to finish the semester in a cheerful and joyful way.”

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