USM renews holiday event canceled last year due to COVID-19

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 9:50 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi has renewed a holiday tradition that was suspended last year because of the pandemic.

Southern Miss turned on the lights of a 20-foot Christmas tree near the Lucas Administration Building to kick-off “Lighting the Way for the Holidays.”

It’s an event that was held annually for a decade but was canceled in 2020.

Students, faculty and dozens of Hattiesburg residents sang Christmas carols at the tree and then made their way to the nearby Centennial Green, where they took photos with Santa, drank hot chocolate and participated in other holiday-themed activities.

“We actually haven’t seen ‘Lighting the Way’ since 2019, so this is a tradition that we were really looking to revive,” said Katie Rogers, coordinator for events and traditions at USM. “I’m really excited too, the way that students and the community have turned out.”

“Working here at Southern Miss, it’s great to have the tradition back, because it’s bringing back community, it’s bringing back our students connecting with us,” said Amber Sumrall.

Sumrall was attending the event with her 15-year-old son, Isaiah Evans.

The first, “Lighting the Way for the Holidays” was held in 2009.

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