UA to sponsor annual holiday tree-lighting event

Tech Twinkles will bring lights to dorms as well as trees this year

The Undergraduate Association Events Committee will host the Tech Twinkles ceremony in the lobby of Kresge Auditorium today, kicking off the holiday-themed lighting of trees and living spaces around the MIT campus.

This is the third year Tech Twinkles will light up trees on campus, but the first that it will do so partnered with UA Events, making it one of only three events sponsored by the committee, the others being FallFest and SpringFest.

Tech Twinkles, with funding from the Division of Student Life, strung lights on the trees outlining the pathway between the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center and Kresge Oval between Nov. 28 and 30. In addition, this year it received funding from the Baker Foundation to purchase and distribute lights and extension cords to the campus dormitories.

The lighting celebration, which will take place at 7 p.m., is sponsored by UA Events and will include desserts, performances by the Logarhythms, Resonance, and Roadkill Buffet, as well as free mugs sponsored by MindHandHeart.

Tech Twinkles was conceived by Teresa de Figueiredo ’17, Veronika Jedryka ’17, and Jane He ’15, who first lit the trees outside the Zesiger Center with support from the DSL in December 2014. De Figueiredo was inspired by the trees that line Newbury Street in Boston, which are lit during the holiday season.

The goals of the project are to bring the MIT community together and make MIT a more welcoming place during the winter, de Figueiredo and Jedryka said in an interview with The Tech. “Really we’re just looking to brighten people’s spirits,” Jedryka said. “We know it gets so tough here.”

Though the event has grown considerably in scale since its inception, de Figueiredo and Jedryka are still heavily involved in its execution, and have worked closely with UA Events since their organization joined forces with the committee. Jane He now works in Washington, D.C., but de Figueiredo and Jedryka said that she still advises them on the project.

“You can count on them to get everything done,” Ann Quan ’20, the UA Events member who handled much of the publicity for Tech Twinkles, told The Tech. “They’re communicating with the DSL, they’re running around and providing us with past contacts, and also… helping with the actual logistics.”

Likewise, de Figueiredo and Jedryka expressed enthusiasm about working with UA Events. “We do want to have them completely run [Tech Twinkles] next year,” de Figueiredo said. The two founders helped run other UA-sponsored events, like the October study break, earlier in the year, and began delegating the responsibilities associated with Tech Twinkles to other UA Events members, working to integrate their groups.

The professional lighting near the Zesiger Center was strung by Currier Landscaping, the same company that provides holiday decoration services for Copley Square and President L. Rafael Reif’s home.

The organizers did not know how long the lights will stay on the trees, but said they were expecting to keep them up through the darkest parts of the winter. “We’re envisioning at least till [the] end of February,” Jedryka said.