UConn’s light festival, LIT23, was nothing short of a fun way to start off the first weekend back on campus. The overwhelming volume of Taylor Swift songs playing across the field of the Student Union Mall was made up for by grabbing some hot chocolate and chilling with friends around a campfire.
The setup was simple yet brilliant. The main attraction was a tunnel of lights; a hallway full of stars that would get the attention of any budding Instagram influencer on campus. Walking through it was something out of Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain ride. Neon lights streaked toward the moon and roof of the Student Union.
“Everything is a little winter themed,” says Erin O’Keefe, UConn’s coordinator for major events and programs.
“I had a vision of I wanted to do something with lights and different mediums. So, we were able to build this whole structure over here with 14,000 light bulbs on it…this was just supposed to be a chill way for us to welcome students back,” O’Keefe said, speaking on her inspiration for the winter event.
The Daily Campus caught up with a few students at the event.
When asked about what she was most excited for, second-semester biological sciences major Esha Sharma said, “The food. Definitely trying the food.”
Sharma and her friends Smitha Sriram and Krishna Patel decided to hang out at one of the campfires set up on the lawn. As freshmen, they are excited to experience the campus a little further and seek out anything that piques their interest.
Speaking of the food, the food trucks were crowded as interested students walked through. Dudes’ Donuts and Rolling Rolls catered, bringing their own styles to the donut and egg roll respectively. Dudes’ apple cider donuts left sugar and crumbs on the mouths of students as fried egg rolls stuffed with mac and cheese and blackened chicken filled their stomachs; it was the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
“I was looking for comfort foods,” said O’Keefe. She also gave us a vague peek of what’s to come this spring.
“This is part of our mega weekend series. So you’ll see one more of these at the end of April. So this semester we’re kicking it off and then we’re gonna end it with a bang as well.”
If you’re too impatient to wait until April, SUBOG events and Late Night are always around the corner.
“So all of this kind of came out of me having a conversation with some of our students at the beginning of last fall just saying, ‘Hey, this is what I’m thinking. What does this sound like to you?’ This just evolved out of that conversation. So students are always welcome to send suggestions into our office so that we can turn that into an actual reality” said O’Keefe.