Lander University's fourth annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony was "an outstanding event," according to Lander President Richard Cosentino.
"It was a truly wonderful evening, the perfect way to usher in the holiday season with our Lander family," Cosentino said.
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and family members took part in the celebration, despite temperatures in the 30s and windy conditions that made it feel even colder.
"We had a great turnout,"Cosentino said.
The attractions included horse-drawn carriage rides; a ferris wheel; "ice" skating; a gingerbread house decoration competition; an ugliest sweater contest; performances by student musicians, singers and dancers; refreshments such as hot chocolate, cider and Christmas cookies; and an appearance by Santa Claus. The evening culminated with the lighting of a 20-foot tree, adorned with white lights, in Lander's central plaza.
Lander students who participated in the tree lighting were glad they came. "I'm having a great time," said Taylor Haigler, a nursing major from Florence.
"It's kind of cold, but it's fun," said Lauren Branyon, an early childhood education major from Due West.
Miranda Lesnieski, a nursing major from Columbia, said she looks forward to the event every year.
"I really enjoy the arts and crafts. I actually met my freshman year roommate doing that, and then we moved in together," she said.
Sidney Daniels, a nursing major from Irmo, said that being able to connect with students she met in her general education classes is "really cool."
Emily Mulholland, a nursing major from Sumter, said she enjoys "seeing everybody come together. I really appreciate that Lander offers so many different things for the students to do. I think it's awesome," she said.