Students, Staff and Community Gather at NUI Galway’s Inaugural Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Clare Austick, Welfare & Equality Officer, President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Megan Reilly, President SU and Victoria Chihumura, Ethnic Minorities Officer
Dec 12 2018 Posted: 09:53 GMT

Students, Staff and Community Gather at NUI Galway’s Inaugural Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

At the recent inaugural Tree Lighting ceremony at NUI Galway, students, staff and retired staff, along with members of the public were invited to ‘Light the festive spark’ which included food, song and festive cheer among the University community while turning on the campus Christmas lights. Funds were also raised for the Students’ Union charities, COPE Galway and the Galway Rape Crisis Centre.

Speaking at the ceremony, Victoria Chihumura, Ethnic Minorities Officer in the Students’ Union said: “We are delighted to be here today at this tree lighting, in such a central part of the campus. We in the Students’ Union have worked with the President and his office on this event here today to mark the holiday season. There is something about this time of year that creates a sense of community, one which brings everyone in this institution together at this time of celebration. Our University is a place of community and collaboration, and this event encapsulates that. 

“Our community reaches far and wide out across the world. This festive season, we want to focus our thoughts on those who are far away from their families and home. In particular those who have come to this country seeking asylum and a better life in this country, who now live in the Direct Provision system, some of them being our own students. We recognise that the holiday season can be a tough time for many, not least refugees. To those people we say you are welcome here, this is a space of learning, of friendship, and of sanctuary.”   

The event had an abundance of festive treats and cakes provided by campus caterers whilst student societies and the award winning staff choir entertained the crowd. Children were delighted when Santa Claus and some of his elves made an appearance. For students, it presented an opportunity to take a break from their studies with exams beginning this week.

Following the event, President Ó hÓgartaigh commented: “The event was a lovely partnership of staff and students coming together to celebrate the festive season and where life poured ordinary plenty, to paraphrase Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh.  It was also a timely and tangible expression of the importance of community here on our campus.  As we come to the shortest day and the turn of the year, it’s good to look forward to brighter days ahead. 

“I was delighted to learn that the event raised significant funds for the two Students' Union  designated charities and that we were able to share some festive treats with homeless services in the city” he added.


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