Just the light show:
In the wake of the attacks on September 11th, Lighting of the Lawn (LOTL) began 16 years ago in order to bring the Charlottesville community together. Since then, LOTL has evolved into an annual tradition that aims to unify students, faculty, and the Charlottesville community, encouraging an atmosphere of festivity and warmth. While the past few years have provided a critical time of contemplation and renovation for the University, with the reopening of the doors of the Rotunda, we have the opportunity to learn a different lesson: inclusion. Our vision for inclusion includes several new and transformative projects and partnerships with safety-oriented organizations such as Hoos Got Your Back and ADAPT.
In 2016, LOTL features performance groups ranging from A Capella to dance, a tremendous poem (below) that reflects the experiences of students from each class, and an elaborate light show (above) as well as receptions welcoming student and community groups to warm up, eat, and socialize.
16th Annual Lighting of the Lawn Poem
December 1st, 2016
Speakers: Professor Theresa Davis, Dean Tabitha Enoch, Former Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo
It’s December the 1st at old U-V-A
With our beautiful Rotunda standing proudly on display
The lights have been strung on the pavilions with care
In the hopes of creating a great night to share
We come from all over the Charlottesville community
Here to gather on the lawn and proclaim our unity
We’re all bundled up in this very cold weather
But none of that matters, as we’re all here together
Everyone’s dressed up in sweaters, you all look so fab
There’s so much to celebrate...is it still cool to dab?
A big welcome to all, in your gloves and your mitts
Get ready for tonight because it’s gonna be lit.
The 16th Lighting of the Lawn, what a tradition
An opportunity to take a walk down memory lane -- UVA edition
So let’s take our walk and remember the days
That have shaped the past year in spectacular ways
Grounds have changed, rest in peace Clem 2
We want to be social and procrastinate...what do we do?
At least the Rotunda was finally finished
Our streaking ability is no longer diminished!!!
It’s already December, when did winter approach?
We’ve come to the end of the football season with our new head coach!
Basketball is upon us and our season’s looking bright
Soon we’ll be in March Madness showing Michigan State our might
Our number of national championships is certainly no myth
Oh and we also won an Olympic Gold Medal, how about Leah Smith??
We look forward to the spring, for our drive and desire are not done
We’ve won dozens of tournaments while Virginia Tech has won none!
The Corner has changed time and time again
And gone are the days of good old St. Maartens
Word of new restaurants spreads quickly through the streets
Hey, when is Eddy’s going to finally turn into that Sheetz?
Christians Pizza and White Spot, have become our late night staples
As we eat enough food to fill tables and tables
What else has happened over the past year?
Let’s start by taking a look at the youngest ones here:
The Class of 2020 rolled up on Grounds not long ago
Cars with supplies, clothes, and bedding lined up in a row
People instantly sweltered in Old Dorms and CDF
While their New Dorms counterparts wondered if their hotel had a chef
UVA primped just for your arrival
Hence the Rotunda and its 2016 revival
Hold up, one quick question, was J Cole really here?
You waited for him that night for what seemed like 10 years
To those of you who still haven’t done your laundry yet
Way to save three fifty, that price will surely put you in debt
It took some of you a while to discover the mystical Castle
But we all know that music is well worth the hassle
Now you’re adults and prepared to commit
To give it your all and make your time here legit
On to the second years, this poem must pass
For who could forget about UVA’s bicentennial class?
Though you were first years, not long ago
You’re now facing adulthood-- “I’m not ready, oh no!”
To get a meal plan or not, that is the question,
UVA should get a Chipotle-- now THAT is a suggestion!
You’ve moved out of dorms to exciting new places
Down by JPA and the corner, in pursuit of new faces
Grandmarc, and Wertland; Lambeth and Bice
Hey, not living in dorms, it’s actually pretty nice!
You can bring your cars to school, no more relying on the bus
The only issue is finding parking close to grounds--now that’s a big fuss
You’ve mastered taking exams-- your finals should hopefully go well
If there’s one thing you’ll remember, it’s that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell
You’ll declare your majors, and apply to Comm and Batten in the spring
Not much longer now until you can finally order those rings
Wearing a ring is a third year’s right to earn
It is therefore to the Class of 2018 that we must now turn
Third year arrived and many friends disappeared
To the depths of the Comm School, or abroad without fear
Your exams got harder and your essays grew longer
But you persevered, and emerged even stronger
You declared all your majors, and mastered using SIS
“How was orientation two years ago?!” we all reminisce
You’ve picked all your classes, with better times to sign up
“Hey it’s only been an hour… how are my classes already filled up?”
You’re applying to internships, so much pressure- Oh no!
Are you sure I can’t round my 3.5 to a 4.0??”
With rings on your hands, and passion in your hearts
UVA history and traditions - you’re all taking part
You’re no longer underclassmen, your time as second years is at its end
“Do any first years have any swipes? I’m asking for a friend!”
While your third year is busy you must come to a stop
To sit and remember that the Class of 2017 is on top
As your time at UVA grows less and less each day
You have nothing to fear, as your legacy is here to stay
It’s been a full three and a half years since you’ve come to these Grounds
You’re actually fourth years, as hard as that sounds
Breweries and vineyards, Sunset Series and more,
There’s no shortage of things you still have left to explore
As far as accomplishments go, you’ve accumulated a bunch
But none are as rewarding as finding the best place to brunch
Each and every week seeking to try something new,
“Hey where can I get my hands on that list of 117 things to do?”
You’re all tired of hearing, “so what are you doing next year?”
“I’m still not sure” you say while shedding a tear
It took hours and hours to learn how to navigate
Your new favorite website, called UVA Handshake
Applying for graduation was quite a sad ordeal
“We’re seriously going to graduate? Are you actually for real?”
You’ve walked through these Grounds, you’ve seen all the sights
You’ve pushed through seven semesters and given them your might
The Cavalier spirit and mindset will accompany your every endeavour,
In your hearts and in your eyes, you’ll be Wahoos forever.
Our time at UVA has not come without cost
So let us stop and remember the lives of those we have lost (Pause for brief few seconds of silence)
Their spirits shine with us in these lights here tonight
For in times of sorrow and darkness, we must always see the light
A big thank you to all, we’re glad you could attend
Forever on our minds this night will be penned.
Our futures will be bright, no matter which path we choose
Stay warm, happy holidays, but above all-- Go Hoos!