The lights around the University of Connecticut have made a return, but they’re not expected to adorn the iconic Mirror Lake swing tree like in past years, UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
“I don’t think we’re going to do anything with the swing tree because it’s very delicate,” Reitz said. “The lights themselves are very light. It’s the cherrypickers next to it that would compact the soil [causing problems].”
In an email welcoming back students on Aug. 28, UConn President Susan Herbst announced the tree was sick.
“They [UConn arborists] are not entirely sure why, but are taking steps to attempt to nurse it back to health,” Herbst said in the email.
It is too early to know if treatments are effective yet, but horticulture professor and co-chair of the UConn Arboreum Committee Dr. Mark Brand has over 75 seedlings gathered from the swing tree earlier in the year already growing, Retiz told the Daily Campus Nov. 29. (horticulture-professor-hopes-to-grow-more-of-swing-tree-species)
Herbst is the one that initiated lining Fairfield Way with lights. Herbst met with facilities to see if it was something that could be done in the fall of 2015. This began the now-yearly tradition.
“It’s something that took a fresh set of eyes to do,” Reitz said.
The lights currently line the trees and some structures on Fairfield Way, North Eagleville Road and the island on Mirror Lake, as well as the entrance to UConn’s campus near the Fine Arts building.
“With a lot of students away from home,” Reitz said. “We want to make UConn feel more ‘homey’ for them.”
UConn students appreciate the University getting into the holiday spirit.
“I love the lights on campus,” third-semester speech language and hearing sciences major Katherine Monroe said. “It makes campus feel very festive and makes walks at night more enjoyable.”
First-semester undeclared major Zoe Butchen agreed.
“The lights around campus are so festive, and I can tell students are much happier with them, including myself,” Butchen said.
Luke Hajdasz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.