Thirty-five SUNY Oneonta students recently volunteered their time and efforts to help prepare a holiday initiative that will bring joy and light to the city of Oneonta and its residents this season.
On a chilly mid-November morning, the students gathered downtown in Neahwa Park to hang lights and decorations and help set up for the Oneonta Festival of Lights, a free annual drive-through holiday lights display that will kick off Dec. 18.
Students worked from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and, despite the cold, were joyful and enthusiastic. Their attention to detail, artistic eye, willingness to help, and especially height were greatly appreciated!
The students, who were recruited by the college’s Center for Social Responsibility and Community, included members of the softball team and several Greek organizations.
“The Oneonta community is always so welcoming to myself as well as my peers, so when there is a change to give back it’s always a no-brainer,” said softball team member Marissa Nagel, a senior majoring in Adolescent Education/Mathematics from Averill Park, NY. “Hanging lights with my teammates was one of these great opportunities to give back to the community. It was great to help set this up so that everyone who comes to the light show can enjoy the sights during the holiday season!”
This is the third annual Oneonta Festival of Lights, sponsored by First Night Oneonta and Five Star Subaru. More than 30 local organizations and businesses take part and create individual light displays, including the college. (see photo from last year)
The event, which runs until Jan. 1, is dedicated to the late John Hayen, the college’s assistant men’s soccer coach, who was known for his elaborate holiday light displays.