Bryant University’s 46th Festival of Lights, one of the University’s oldest and most cherished traditions, brought together the entire Bryant community to celebrate a wide range of holiday traditions with one another. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, families, and friends all gathered to share the spirit of the season and reflect on its greater meaning.
"I am delighted to see so many members of our community come together tonight to celebrate the holiday season and honor traditions from around the world," noted Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., in his remarks. "The holidays bring people together, but they are also a time of reflection and gratitude. This year I am very grateful for the strength and compassion of the Bryant community that we demonstrate in so many different ways, including in the most difficult times.”
Presented by the Bryant University Student Alumni Association, the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement, and the Center for Student Leadership and Involvement, this year’s Festival incorporated celebrations commemorating Diwali, Kwanza, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Eid, as well as a Chinese Lantern Ceremony. Performances by the Bryant Chamber Ensemble and the University’s award-winning The Bottomline acapella group brought smiles to the audiences’ faces and good cheer to the proceedings.
“The spirit you feel at events like the Festival of Lights is so unique to Bryant, I really don’t think you can find it anywhere else.”
“The Festival of Lights isn’t just a chance for us to celebrate together, it’s an opportunity for all of us to learn from one another and strengthen the bonds that we all share,” says Carly Sleboda ’24, Vice President of Major Events for Bryant’s Student Alumni Association and the Festival’s Master of Ceremonies.
The Festival culminated with a traditional lighting of candles as all assembled illuminated the University Rotunda with hundreds of points of light, reflecting a community brought together by shared purpose and camaraderie. “The spirit you feel at events like the Festival of Lights is so unique to Bryant, I really don’t think you can find it anywhere else,” reflects Lindsey Shearstone ’23, the President of Bryant’s Student Alumni Association. “So many people look forward to this and being able to celebrate our diversity as well as what we share makes it so much more special.”
The candle ceremony capped an entire day of holiday activities, including a festive feast in Salmanson Dining Hall, activities, competitions and crafts in the University’s Unistructure; a gathering for family, friends, and alumni; and even a visit from Santa Claus and his wife. At the conclusion of the Festival, the audience processed to the Fisher Student Center for the lighting of the University’s Holiday Tree and menorah and enjoyed cookies, hot chocolate, and a performance by the Bryant Jazz Ensemble.