Tree lighting, ‘De-Stress Fest’ herald end of fall semester

The University of Detroit Mercy will host its annual tree lighting ceremony and “De-Stress Fest” at the end of this month as a way for students to celebrate the holidays.

The event will take place inside the Fitness Center from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 30 and will include free snacks and games. Officials will light the university’s 20-foot Christmas tree at 5 p.m.

The event is co-sponsored by University Ministry, Student Life, Residence Life, the Student Fitness Center and Wellness Center. De-Stress Fest, typically an end-of-se- mester opportunity for students to relax and prepare for finals, was combined last year with the tree lighting for extra holiday cheer.

“We’ve been trying to put more things together, so instead of all these little events going on, they are bigger events with more impact,” Deanna Blevins, Detroit Mercy’s director of recreation and guest services, told The Varsity News.

The De-Stress Fest will include “Elf Training School,” where students can participate in a series of activities including making ornaments and earning an elf-name. Other activities include: an indoor snowball fight with obstacles; sack races in Santa’s magic bag; a tissue box challenge inspired by the television show “Minute to Win It;” crafting pomander balls; as well as other games.

Students can snack on holiday cookies and cupcakes from a local bakery and drink hot chocolate or “naughty and nice” punch.

The Student Success Center’s service dog, Bentley, will also be joining students in celebration that evening.

Blevins said the goal of the evening is to create a space for students to have fun and enjoy the holidays, no matter where “home” is.

“My team always had a blast decorating,” she said. “For a lot of them, they don’t get to go home to do that, so it gives them an opportunity to have those traditions.”

The night will conclude with it a 3-on-3 intramural basketball tournament starting at 7 p.m.

Although positions for the tournament have been filled, students are welcome to watch while enjoying a candy cane and hot chocolate.

“It’s going to be very alive in here,” Blevins said. “I call [the Fitness Center] the house of fun because that’s what we do. My whole job is to create opportunities for students to have fun, take care of themselves and to be a part of the community. I think that all of the things we are doing that night will help with that.”