Biola celebrates Christmas with tree lighting

Due to California’s drought, Biola chose to use a phone app instead of wax candles.


Marika Adamopoulos/THE CHIMES

Jana Eller, Writer

Students, parents, alumni and faculty came together to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season during the annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Metzger Lawn on Monday, Nov. 30. Though the ceremony in years past included the lighting of candles, Biola decided not to use conventional wax candles this year due to the drought.

Since it takes a large amount of water to clean up the mess of the candles after the event, Biola switched to using an app called “Wham City Lights,” which allowed attendees to have the candle on their phone. The app allowed users to light other “candles” by tapping their phones. Taylor Stribbling, Student Government Association president, considers this a positive change.

“It saved [Biola] a ton of money for clean up even after using the candles so I think it was a really good change for Biola, just so that we can put money towards other areas,” Stribbling said. “And I think that using the cell phones even helped within the crowd and seeing everybody participate was really awesome, too.”

The guest speaker was Alton Lim, a Biola donor who recently gave the largest donation in Biola’s history to the new upcoming science building.


Although there were minor technical difficulties, the energy of the crowd never wavered. As the band started another worship session, the audio cut out, but the crowd continued singing.

Sean Matta, alumni music and worship major who performed on stage for the event, found this an encouraging sense of community.

“I think it happened for a reason because the crowd was going. They were singing it, it was awesome,” Matta said.

The night ended with the crowd cheering as, after a moment’s hesitation, the christmas tree lit up and the rare California snow, small bubbles, began to fall on this special event.

“I liked the fake snow. It reminded me of Disneyland and made it more magical,” said Kristen Hollingsworth, freshman elementary education major.


As the event drew to a close, Stribbling and Drew Mattocks, SGA vice president, announced Biola’s fundraising event for Giving Tuesday. Kicking off on Dec. 1, Giving Tuesday is an event where students give money to benefit other Biola students. The goal is to raise $100,000 in 24 hours that will go towards scholarships for current students next year. They also have an anonymous donor who will match whatever they raise, up to $50,000.

During the fundraiser, SGA will put a present under the tree for every donation they receive. SGA has already donated $1,500 towards the cause. Mattocks thinks this visual display will encourage students to participate.

“It’s been so nice to see a tangible effect of the money instead of just a future building that as a senior or as a junior you might not see, but the fact that, you know many of us will be impacted by scholarships…I think that will be a really cool gift for this year,” Mattocks said.

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