As the semester comes to a close, the California Baptist University community celebrated the beginning of the Christmas season on the Front Lawn Dec. 1 with the annual Christmas party.
Students, alumni and families joined at the front of the school in their favorite Christmas sweaters to take a break from finals and come together as a community.
Makenna Lammons, junior psychology and criminal justice double major and Associated Students of California Baptist University president, said this annual event, which is planned by ASCBU, is highly anticipated with an average attendance of 3,000.
“This is a huge hit for students,” Lammons said. “Students look forward to it and expect it to happen.”
The night began with the reading of the Christmas story by Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of CBU. Behind him, the 70-foot Christmas tree was illuminated for the whole community to see. While the tree remains on the lawn year round, it is shaped and lit for the event.
It was the first time Jackson Burge, junior kinesiology major and ASCBU executive vice president, watched the ceremony as an ASCBU member.
“This was my first year in ASCBU watching the tree light up and it was incredibly gratifying,” Burge said. “This just meant that all of our hard work had paid off with the beginning of a successful night.”
Students competed for gift cards with a pie-eating contest on stage.
Emily Schmidt, sophomore early childhood studies major; Corrine Cabrera, 9, daughter of Lisa Cabrera, bakery manager for CBU, and Jesus Martin, junior electrical and computer engineering major, finished their pies the fastest in the three competitions.
Schmidt said she was proud of her accomplishment and shared her strategy.
“I have four brothers and my oldest brother saw a video of it and texted me saying, ‘Looks like your brothers have taught you well,’” Schmidt said. “My strategy was just to eat all the cream and chocolate on top and then eat the crust. Instead of just putting my face in it I used my hand like a spoon.”
Many attendees wore creative ugly sweaters to the event, but only one could walk away with the prize of two free Yule tickets.
Ashley Arredondo, sophomore Christian studies major, entered the contest when she learned she would have the day off from work and would be able to attend Yule with her friends.
“It is a little surreal to have won the ugliest sweater on campus because entering this contest was totally out of my comfort zone,” Arredondo said. “I didn’t make (the sweater) all on my own. (My friends and I) made it a reality within the two hours before the party. We all participated in the crafting of the sweater.”
The eggnog chug competition created a crowd of people around the stage who all wanted to compete.
The coveted prize was a gift card for customized Nike shoes.
Five lucky participants were chosen by DeAnna Hall, senior psychology major and ASCBU resident representative, and Josue Gonzalez, sophomore pre-nursing major and ASCBU commuter representative. They were then given a glass of eggnog to chug.
The winner was Cameron Taunton, junior kinesiology major and said he plans to use the gift card to get his father shoes for Christmas.
Students said they enjoyed coming together and celebrating community under the “snow.” Other events during the party included cookie and ornament decorating, inflatable slides, photo booths and games.
Janelle Nichols, freshman Christian behavioral science major, shared why she enjoyed the event.
“My favorite thing about the Christmas party was seeing everyone having a good time with the activities that were available,” Nichols said. “I am thankful to be at a school that can provide community events like this. It was a good way to celebrate Christmas and the ending of the semester. It was a way for everyone to hang out all together before we all leave again.”