A familiar tradition for returning students and a wonder for new Braves, Lighting of the B brightened up campus during the start of Homecoming.
This year, the event took place on Monday at 7 p.m., with a fireworks show ending the night at 8:30 p.m. while there were still long T-shirt lines after. “Carnival” games and activities were scattered around Olin Quad and Founder’s Circle.
“I think that Homecoming is very important for Bradley because it is a rare opportunity to bring everyone on campus together, along with alumni and along with the greater Peoria community,” said Jake McGiles, homecoming co-coordinator and sophomore health science pre-med major.
The B lighting tradition began around 90 years ago, with a discontinuation before bringing it back to campus. Members of conference facilities placed the B onto Bradley Hall last Wednesday in preparation for Monday’s lighting.
“[Lighting of the B] is a great event to welcome new Bradley students and play some fun games,” sophomore business law and management and leadership double major Danny Sullivan said. “I would recommend it. Get a free shirt and play a bunch of games.”
There were about 2,900 people at Lighting of the B this year. That means this year’s event drew about 200 more people than last year.
“This year’s Lighting of the B event brought in many new aspects,” McGiles said. “We had light up foam fingers to give away, catered food and plenty of fun activities on the quad. So overall, I think that Lighting of the B was a tremendous [success].”
Food options included free popcorn, snow cones, mozzarella sticks and more. Participants could also play carnival games to win tickets for raffle prizes.
“I was working the Lighting of the B at the surf station,” Christie Masanka freshman criminology major, said. “Many people fell down; no one stayed for like more than 20 seconds. It was fun in general because people were coming together, enjoying their fun and showing their school pride.”
In addition to food and games, attendees enjoyed a show from students on the stage. Emcees announced the 2018 homecoming court and raffle winners, led a lip sync battle between Fellows and Sigma Lamda Gamma/Student Aides and introduced dance performances by Orchesis, Bravettes and Vitality.
“I think my favorite [event] was the Bravettes,” Camille Sanders, junior sociology major, said. “[But], I love seeing all the dance groups.”
At the end of the night, the Bradley cheerleaders led the crowd in the Bradley chant. A final countdown appeared 10 seconds before and the lighting of the B was accompanied by music and fireworks.
“I enjoy the campus coming together and celebrating the spirit of Bradley University,” senior elementary education major Dylan Peyton said. “I feel that Bradley’s homecoming overall does a great job of getting faculty and staff excited.”