A last 'Light' for Kupchellas
Tuesday's "Lighting of the Green" was the sixth, and final, holiday ceremony for UND's first couple, who established the event. When President Charles Kupchella and his wife, Adele, came to UND in 1999, they noticed one piece of the holiday seaso...
Tuesday's "Lighting of the Green" was the sixth, and final, holiday ceremony for UND's first couple, who established the event.
When President Charles Kupchella and his wife, Adele, came to UND in 1999, they noticed one piece of the holiday season was missing: a festive kick-off event.
"Christmas is a special time of year; it's our favorite," Adele Kupchella said. "We did similar things at other universities, but sometimes, they were known by another name like 'Hanging of the Green' where we hung greens and decorations over a mezzanine with singing and the lighting of the tree."
In 2002, the Kupchella's created the "Lighting of the Green." The kickoff was planned to coincide with the students' return from Thanksgiving break to brighten up the university "to make it as an extension of the warmth and feelings they had back with their families," Charles Kupchella said.
Tuesday, the Madrigal Dinner Singers led a group gathered in the Memorial Union lobby in singing holiday songs before the crowd filtered outside to quickly light the large fir tree on the north lawn.
Another celebrationNearby, a 125th anniversary flag flapped in the windy sky filled with light snow. It was placed on a flagpole in front of the union for the first time Tuesday - on a monument honoring university members serving in the military. Other 125th anniversary flags have been flying throughout campus since the celebration began in September.
The warm holiday cheer also was filled with a spirit of good-natured competition. Besides the large fir tree, a holiday lights competition also brightens University Avenue.
Awards were presented for the most festive decorations on fraternity and sorority houses.
"It looks like Clark Griswold has moved into the neighborhood," said Cassie Gerhardt, Greek Life coordinator, referencing the extreme holiday decorations seen in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."
Five years ago, most houses had only a snowflake in their windows. "They took decorating to a new level this year," she said.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon took first place, followed by Sigma Chi and Beta Theta Pi.
"We've had our lights up for a few weeks now, and no one else did, so we thought we had it in the bag. But (Monday), other houses started throwing up lights, and we started getting worried," said Tim Paul, who spearheaded the decorations at Sigma Alpha Epsilon's house on Hamline Street and University Avenue.
"The hardest part was decorating the third tier. He was up stapling lights onto the third tier with a harness system made of two extension cords tied together," Paul said gesturing toward Aaron Nelson.
They admitted to striving for a "Griswold family" look by spending $250 on new decorations. Lights even adorn their volleyball net.
In Griswold style, their next-door neighbor took second with decorations that include an inflated Santa Claus.
Other fraternities and sororities offered a Parade of Homes for the public to view their houses in return for a nonperishable food item donation.
Decker can be reached at (701) 787-6754; (800) 477-6572, ext. 754, or firstname.lastname@example.org .