Southern lights up

The Missouri Southern 9th Annual Southern Lights was held Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. preceded by the tree lighting ceremony with President Alan Marble beginning at 6 p.m. in the Oval. The event has been held in years prior the week before finals, as part of end-of-semester events hosted by the university. 

Lindsey Barnes, a junior sociology major, was one of many students enjoying the festivities offered by Missouri Southern, saying “My family and I really enjoyed the carriage ride as well as the beautiful light display on campus.”

Coordinators of the event offered tree decorating, horse drawn carriage rides, holiday pictures with Roary, cookie decorating and holiday crafts for attending children. In addition, hot cocoa, cider, and cookies were available. The carriage rides were offered free of charge to students, staff, alumni and their families with all other activities open to the public. 

Melanie Epperson, Missouri Southern alumna and Joplin resident, attended the Southern Lights event Wednesday and says she has gone every year since it began in 2007, but this year spent most of her time handing out gifts for the Angel Tree project sponsored by Staff Senate. “It is always a great event … everyone I talked to loved the carriage rides, making crafts, and pictures with Roary,” Epperson said. 

The event was organized and overseen by Kelly Wilson, director of the Advising, Counseling and Testing office. There are currently plans to continue to offer the event every Fall semester for the foreseeable future. The first Southern Lights ceremony on campus was conceived by Terri Agee, who was serving as the interim president of Southern at that time.