Despite rain, Lighting of the B celebration energizes student body

Bradley kicked off the Homecoming festivities with the Lighting of the B ceremony on Oct. 21, but this year the event had a new location.

Due to weather, Activities Council of Bradley University moved the event, which in years past has been hosted in front of Bradley Hall, to the Student Center Ballroom.

“We were in close corridors this year and I think that influenced a lot of people to be more social,” Graduate Assistant for Student Activities Kyle Malinowski said. “It really encouraged people to break out of the bubble and unite behind the Lighting of the B.”

While rain may have hampered an outdoor gathering, it didn’t affect attendance, Malinowksi said.

“When comparing this year’s Lighting of the B ceremony to last years, more people came this year because we ran out of 400 shirts 20 minutes prior to the event,” he said.

During the event, projection screens featured a live video feed of the B and students were able to watch and countdown to the lighting. Once the B was lit, the ballroom erupted with a combination of music, cheers and dancing with glow sticks and music provided by a DJ.

“It was a lot like New Year’s Eve,” freshman engineering major Zak Thompson said. “The Lighting of the B is the beginning of a week of fun and homecoming festivities.”

Since the tradition started many years ago, this year is the second year ACBU has revamped the actual Lighting of the B ceremony to encourage more student involvement.

“Last year was more of a ceremony,” Malinowksi said. “This year it was more fun, mainly because students got to count down to the lighting of the B using glow sticks and the “Party Rock Anthem.””

In addition to the countdown, the Homecoming Court was announced and the event featured a fully decorated ballroom as well as free food courtesy of Famous Dave’s.

Senior math and economics major Maggie Rosiles said she enjoyed the experience.

“It’s nice getting out with friends and seeing everyone else get together,” she said. “Everyone gets to experience the best the Bradley has to offer during this week.”

Activities Council coordinators and sophomore public relations majors Erin Guth and Jasmine Swoope as well as other ACBU members have been planning this year’s Lighting of the B and Homecoming week since last semester.

“We noted things that did work and didn’t work in the past,” Guth said.

Swoope said ACBU wanted to get students more involved in the Lighting of the B.

“Our main goal is to get students involved in the celebration,” Swoope said. “We analyzed previous years, interviewed students, talked with administrators about possible changes to homecoming.”

With Parents Weekend overlapping with Homecoming, the ACBU coordinators had to consolidate some events.

“We wanted to pack as much energy into the days before parents weekend,” Swoope said. “We want to see the same enthusiasm we saw tonight continue throughout the rest of the week.”