Hundreds of students, faculty members, alumni, and community members bundled up and braved the cold Thursday night to commemorate the end of another fall semester and the beginning of the holiday season with Johns Hopkins' annual Lighting of the Quads.
Keyser Quad became the perfect place for pictures with shining, Instagram-ready backdrops in every direction, including fake snow blowing through a photo booth, a glowing message board filled with holiday greetings, and electric stationary bicycles shooting out bubbles backlit by colored headlights.
Those who came out to celebrate stayed warm with hot chocolate and cider while the JHU Pep Band and a cappella groups Sirens and Vocal Chords set the festive mood with performances of holiday songs and new pop hits.
The annual celebration is a treasured tradition on the Homewood campus. After hearing about the event's reputation from friends, Marisa Thomas, a first-year environmental engineering major, didn't want to miss the chance to make an early college memory.
"It just immediately felt like a fun, exciting activity," Thomas said. "I love seeing everyone come together."
While first-year students typically come to the event with a sense of discovery, for many seniors, the event symbolizes something a bit more bittersweet. This year marked the last time Usman Enam would celebrate Lighting of the Quads as a Johns Hopkins undergrad. The senior molecular and cellular biology major graduates in December.
"I actually have a group project due tomorrow morning, but I had to come out tonight," Eman said. "It's a nice break from the end of the semester, and it makes you feel warm inside, even if it's cold out."
The music, photos, and games are all prelude to the titular lighting ceremony. University President Ronald J. Daniels had the honor of pulling the ceremonial switch, illuminating thousands of twinkling lights throughout the Homewood campus and triggering a fireworks display.
As he pulled the switch—transforming the campus into a festive winter wonderland—Daniels called out one last bit of encouragement before the end of the semester. "To all of you, have a wonderful holiday, and good luck with exams!" he said.
The annual Lighting of the Quads is supported by the Hopkins Parents Fund.