On Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m., hundreds of students, faculty and community members joined together to celebrate the 27th Annual Sottile House Tree Lighting Ceremony.
The Sottile tree represents a developmental milestone as the first tree in South Carolina to have electric lights. The historical significance of the tree is remembered by using reproductions of the original ornaments from 1921.
More recently, the tree has been updated to meet modern needs. George P. Watt Jr., the Executive Vice President of Institutional Advancement and the Executive Director of the College of Charleston Foundation, said that for the first time this year the tree is lit by LED lightbulbs. He said that this change will “make our tree just a little more green.” LED lightbulbs are not only more energy efficient than traditional bulbs, but they also run at a cooler temperature, reducing the risk of accidents.
Children from the N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center, part of the College’s School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, had the honor of lighting the tree. Onlookers enjoyed sugar cookies, apple cider, and candy provided by ARAMARK Catering Services. In addition, members of the Jewish Student Union served latkes with apple sauce, a traditional Hanukkah dish.
Jill Conway, the Assistant Director of Student Services, has attended the event almost every year since it began. She said, “I think it just gets bigger and better every year…I love the music, the pictures, the food; you could just say I love it all.”
The Concert Choir and Gospel Choir provided entertainment throughout the event by singing Christmas Carols. At the end of the ceremony, as everyone joined together to sing three classic holiday songs under the direction of Rob Taylor.