On Wednesday evening November 16, 2022, Georgia Southern and the community came together to kick off the holiday season with their annual Lighting of Sweetheart Circle event. A sea of students and families arrived at the event for a good time filled with food, pictures, and a chance to give back to the community with clothing donations.

“This has been an ongoing tradition,” said Brandon Alexander Moore, Vice President of spirit and traditions for the University Programming Board. “To commemorate the start of the holiday season, we always do an annual lighting at sweetheart circle. It’s a time where the community can bring their children, families can come out and get their Christmas photos and enjoy some of the festivities and activities that we have going on.”

Video of the lighting

This event has been an annual tradition of Georgia Southern since 2007. Attendance was free to all.

It all started with GS President Kyle Marrero and GS First Lady Jane Redding Marrero lighting the Christmas lights on the sweetheart circle before giving the crowd an opportunity to interact with the festivities and activities laid out for them.

Georgia Southern lighting
Students, staff and the community come out to enjoy the event Credit: John Caesar | Grice Connect


One of those activities was cookie decorating, but for those who wanted an actual meal, the event served chili, chicken noodle soup, vegetable soup, cornbread, and some saltine crackers.

lights Georgia Southern
GS students Olivia Long (L) and Edie Grice (R) hanging out with Santa GUS Credit: Grice Connect

In addition, guests could take pictures with Santa Gus, the university mascot, against a Christmas-themed backdrop. While not a requirement, attendants were even allowed to donate supplies to senior adults of Statesboro.

John Caesar

John Terry Caesar is a student at Georgia Southern University, majoring in writing with a minor in art. He is originally from Newnan, GA. Caesar has previously written for The George-Anne and The Newnan...