Because daylight hours in Chicago are so few during the winter months, the winter lights program provides students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to enjoy the enchanting glow provided in our winter landscape. In a coordinated effort with many units within Facilities Services: Operations - Landscape Services, Electric Shop, and Planning + Sustainability, over one hundred thousand twinkle lights are placed on trees and shrubs throughout campus. Spanning ten locations throughout campus, including Woodlawn Garden, Regenstein Library, Ellis Avenue Plaza, and two new locations this year in Harper Quadrangle and Hutchinson Courtyard. The light installation runs from Thanksgiving weekend to the end of February.
With sustainability at the forefront of the design and installation, strands of warm white LED lights are carefully installed in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and are thoughtfully removed prior to the budding and leafing of trees and shrubs. The lights are carefully packaged and stored for reuse next year.
Kathleen Golomb, manager, campus environment oversees the design and installation. Locations are specifically selected based on movement through campus, near libraries, and dining locations. She states, “Creating moments of enchantment and wonder during months where our landscape is dormant, truly highlights the beauty and structure of trees while delicately outlining their ethereal overhead canopy. Lacing evergreen shrubs and wrapping tree trunks and branches with warm lights produces a glow from within.” Experiencing the quieting effect of newly fallen snow, breathing the crisp winter air, and viewing the twinkling lights make a journey across campus magical.