Guests filled the Campus Commons, staying warm with hot chocolate from one of the many refreshment tents. Families and students captured moments on SuperFrog Santa’s lap or behind a holiday-themed backdrop.
“Every year, I look forward to this event, because it truly gets everyone across campus and the community into the Christmas spirit – even if it’s only Dec. 1,” said Tyler Provost, a senior at TCU.
Brad Thompson, assistant director of student activities, said he and other organizations involved began setting up at 9 a.m. this morning.
Guests participated in a variety of activities with different organizations from writing letters to Santa with the TCU Alumni Association, to donating to Order of Omega’s Angel Tree Toy Drive.
Marissa Davis, president of Order of Omega said the event provided presents for 500 children in the area.
“The tree lighting not only caters to our campus community, but to surrounding families,” Davis said. “That’s what TCU is all about.”
TCU Senior Place Kicker, Jaden Oberkrom, said he donated a Frozen-themed tricycle to a local girl through the gift drive. Other athletes including TCU Junior Defensive End, Josh Carraway, served at the toy drive by collecting gifts from guests.
Katie Phillips, Student Government Association vice president of external affairs, said the tree lighting is a great opportunity for representatives and student leaders to serve their own community.
“Tonight, I was able to serve hot chocolate to students and members of our community,” Phillips said. “It’s amazing to see something so small – a cup of hot chocolate – bring so much joy to their faces.”
TCU Alumni, Greg and Lara Bradshaw, said they’ve made the TCU tree lighting a tradition for over a decade.
“We love coming out every year to see something new – whether from the fireworks display or to the music performances,” Greg said. “This event builds camaraderie between students and the community – it’s nice to be in a place where everybody bleeds purple.”