1870 Mag

Have Yourself A Very Lit Christmas

Light Up The Lake returns to its rightful spot in 2018.

Just before the stress of finals begins every year since 2008, Ohio Staters puts on an event that has become one of Ohio State’s most beloved traditions: Light Up The Lake.

Break into the holiday season by attending this night filled with holiday music, close friends, and a beautiful backdrop of twinkling lights. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and maybe a couple Insomnia cookies before finding your seat in Ohio State’s 92-year-old outdoor amphitheatre (which became a fully functional stage with concrete and electric capabilities in 1985. Thanks, Ohio Staters!). I sat down with Sam Koziol, one of the Ohio Staters in charge of Light Up The Lake to talk about the big night.

“It’s one of our traditional, staple projects in Staters,” Koziol shared. Students can start arriving at 6 P.M. on December 5, the day before reading day. The show will begin at 6:30 P.M. with MC’s from Staters and performances from multiple groups on campus.”

This year’s set list will feature many of the performers who have been involved the past, as well as a newcomer.

“Always Off The Lake Productions since we’re back at the lake now,” Koziol said. “Also Genesis, the male Indian dance group. They’ve performed the past three or so years, as well as [Ohio State’s] club dance team. This year we’re inviting the club jump rope team to perform, too. It’ll be a new dynamic for us, and their shows are really cool.”


Students might even be visited by some of the university’s finest.

“There will be MC’s from Ohio Staters but we’re looking to find a speaker more recognizable to students like Dr J, and hopefully Brutus will be there! We won’t know until the basketball schedule is finalized.”

Koziol said bringing the community together and the camaraderie that it brings is one of his favorite parts of LUTL. It also helps that he finds the winter season to be the best time of the year.

Light up the Lake lighting ceremony put on by Ohio Staters Inc. at Mirror Lake on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday Dec. 9, 2015 (Joshua Orack/Ohio State University Office of Student Life)

“I think it brings passion to campus, and the lights really make campus pretty during some of the darker times of the year. Plus now with Mirror Lake all revitalized, it’ll be even better.”

With the construction of Mirror Lake taking place since the start of 2016, LUTL has temporarily been known as LUNA, or Light Up the North Area. The past two holiday seasons’ performances took place on north campus around the North Recreation Center. While the spot was a nice size for a stage, an audience, and a long run of lights, it could never replace where the magic all began.

“I think it brings passion to campus, and the lights really make campus pretty during some of the darker times of the year. Plus now with Mirror Lake all revitalized, it’ll be even better.”

“I love [Mirror Lake’s] gorgeous reconstruction,” Koziol said. “Working through some logistical things will have to happen though; there’s a lot less trees now so we’ll have to use more light posts or other means. It looks great but for hanging the lights it’ll be a little more difficult.”

It’s more difficult, but the hanging of the lights is the marquee moment of the night. Koziol is sure the atmosphere that it will create will more than help cover up the lack of trees compared to years past.

“After the performances, we all circle around Mirror Lake, light candles, and sing Carmen, Ohio before turning on all the lights.”
The event is no small feat either. As the campus population size continues to expand, so does Ohio Staters’ plans for LUTL. Koziol said they stick to the motto of “one light per student” so that comes out to roughly 60,000 lights to represent everyone.

This idea of all the lights representing all the students wasn’t conjured out of thin air, rather it goes back to the Ohio Stater’s core beliefs when it comes to helping out around campus.

“Our motto is ‘50 serving 50,000’,” Koziol explained. “It’s becoming a little less relevant because we have more than 50,000 students now, but we’ll continue to push ourselves in serving the student body.”

Celebrate the return of Light Up The Lake on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at Mirror Lake.

Feature photo provided by Ohio Staters.

Madi Task

Madi Task



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