Giant tree debuts this week, dressed in energy-saving decor

By , Senior Reporter  |  Sunday, November 25, 2012 8:30 PM

With the holiday season officially here, St. Thomas is looking more festive than ever thanks to new decorations in the Anderson Student Center.

Along with the traditional Nativity scene, lights and banners, the ASC will get its dose of holiday cheer in the form of a 34-foot tall, pre-lit Christmas tree.

Associate vice president for facilities Gerald Anderley said the tree came in 14 boxes and took 10 hours to transport from central receiving to the designated storage area in the ASC.

“It’ll look spectacular once it’s up in the glassed area,” Anderley said. “That was a way to kind of pull the rest of the decorations in that building.”

Crews will use a lift to put the tree up in ASC Monday, and Anderley estimated that it will take about four days to complete the process.

Senior Michael Becker said he thinks the tree is a “great idea.”

“It will bring holiday cheer to the student center, especially during finals time,” Becker said.

ASC director Vanessa Ryan said it will be lit during the annual tree lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 4.

Anderley said more cost-efficient lights are being used this year.

“We can light the entire campus with the LED lights for a couple thousand dollars, where in the past it was more like $25,000 to $30,000 with the old C7 (bulbs) and C9 (bulbs),” Anderley said. “The energy savings there is significant.”

Sophomore Katie Tomsche said she is looking forward to the atmosphere that the on-campus decorations bring.

“They do such a good job of decorating and making it really exciting, so the energy is just awesome,” Tomsche said.

The familiar Nativity scene is already in place on top of the arches, and Anderley said that the figures have been a part of the St. Thomas holiday tradition for more than 45 years.

Tomsche said she loves the role the Nativity scene plays on campus.

“I think that what they do with the arches with the Nativity and the trees is awesome,” Tomsche said. “I just think it’s so cool, especially at night.”

Becker agreed that the Nativity scene adds a lot to the campus’ beauty.

“I think with the Christmas trees they put up there and then the Nativity scene, in addition to the beautiful arches, it’s just kind of a breathtaking scene,” Becker said.

Carpenter Dave Geurts has been involved with the Nativity scene setup for years.

“I’ve been here 16 years and we’ve been doing this setup now for probably at least 12, maybe 13 or 14 years,” Geurts said.

Tomsche said St. Thomas is the place to be for holiday cheer.

“I think that overall … we get total points for our Christmas spirit on campus,” Tomsche said.

Baihly Warfield can be reached at

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