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On Dec. 7, Hillsdale College will be hosting its first ever Founding Fest for stu­dents and faculty. Courtesy | Hillsdale College

After the ded­i­cation of Christ Chapel and the sub­se­quent cel­e­bration of Hillsdale’s 175th anniversary gala, stu­dents and faculty will now have the oppor­tunity to com­mem­orate the college them­selves through Founding Fest on Sat­urday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 10 p.m. on the quad. 

The anniversary cel­e­bration occurs three days after the college’s founding date which is Dec. 4, 1844. 

This winter car­nival will give stu­dents and faculty the chance to reflect on Hillsdale’s tra­dition and the past semester, according to Director of Student Activ­ities Alexandra Whitford ’18. 

“Our goal is to bring stu­dents, staff and faculty, and their fam­ilies together to have some fun in the winter weather, while also getting to expe­rience some new activ­ities on campus and enjoy the com­mem­o­ration of our her­itage,” Whitford said. 

Director of Student Pro­grams Ashlyn Neveau ’16 said the evening will begin with car­oling in the Chapel at 5 p.m., fol­lowed by the Christmas tree lighting in the center of the quad at 5:30 p.m. Neveau added that there will be an ice skating rink in front of the Chapel and hayrides throughout campus. 

After brain­storming various ideas, Neveau said she and Whitford found inspi­ration for the Fest from Christkindles­markt in Germany, which is similar to an outdoor market. 

“They’ll be dueling pianos playing music for two hours and some DJ music book­ending both ends of the event,” Whitford said. “We’ll have some really cool food options like a chili and bread bar, some fun desserts, hot cocoa, and mulled wine. We’ll also have our his­torical tent and a craft tent, where we can make our own orna­ments and Christmas cards.” 

Director of Res­i­dence Life Rosemary Pynes said she is excited for all of the activ­ities at Founding Fest and is also looking forward to cel­e­brating Hillsdale’s history. 

“It’s so cool because we’ve been doing the same thing for so long,” Pynes said. “And it’s cool we get to cel­e­brate what is good.” 

Neveau said this event is unique because it’s not solely a student-based event. 

“That’s part of what pulls in the history of the college is that there’s a lot of people other than stu­dents that take part in it,” Neveau sid. “And we wanted the whole com­munity to be able to come together and cel­e­brate.” 

As former stu­dents, Neveau and Whitford said that they are blessed to be part of Hillsdale’s tra­dition and hope this event brings stu­dents together in a mean­ingful way. Whitford said Hillsdale has developed very strong prac­tices in aca­d­emics but thinks the college has room to grow in its social tra­di­tions. 

“I think we’re in a period where our culture on campus is starting to blossom, and we’re really coming together as a com­munity to build what is the future of the college,” Whitford said. “I’m really proud to be part of this gen­er­ation that is devel­oping an on-campus life that is worth sticking around for and investing in.” 

Neveau and Whitford both said they hope the weather coop­erates for the event and encourage stu­dents to come cel­e­brate the college’s 175 years of tra­dition. 

“As you approach finals week, it’s nice to be able to take a step back and put life in per­spective with your com­munity,” Whitford said. “It’s just a few hours on Sat­urday to be able to rest and relax and have your bucket filled up before you pour it all out into finals week.”