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.”