Though things on campus may change from time to time, the Center for Campus Ministry (CCM) always stands strong as a beacon for those searching for company, those in need of a comfortable place to study and those who choose to worship. On Nov. 20, these people came together for the annual Hanging of the Greens.
Hanging of the Greens is a tradition where students decorate the CCM with garlands and a Christmas tree for the holiday season. Though this may seem like a more exclusive religious event, Interim Campus Minister Jamie Webster emphasized that the CCM encourages the most diverse group of people to attend, get together, and have fun: the more, the merrier.
This sentiment is probably carried because the main point of Hanging of the Greens isn’t really about Christmas at all — at least not on a deeper level. To Webster, this event is more about fulfilling the human desire to work together.
According to Webster, modern conveniences have made lives easier but pulled apart the human connections that bind people together. Such disconnect, she added, leaves individuals longing for togetherness — which is where the Hanging of the Greens can fill the void.
With this in mind, students of all kinds joined one another on Nov. 20 to decorate the beloved CCM for the holiday season, and the fruits of their labor are apparent as the semester draws to a close. Throughout the season, one can see the CCM gleam from the outside in, with garlands emanating warm light.
The decorations serve as a tangible reminder of the important work that the CCM does all year to unite people, Webster emphasized: The goal of spiritual fulfillment is met through the CCM’s purpose as the campus chapel, but students’ personal goals of studying with friends, laughing over coffee or sharing heartfelt stories are equally fulfilled there. The CCM can be many things to many people in search of transcendence, and this is the facility’s mission, she added.
“Humans have always needed each other,” she said. “Today, it’s harder to pinpoint the ways we need each other, but the innate deep need to have connection – we still have that.”
If the CCM’s goal is to foster this connection, then Hanging of the Greens is just one of the many ways that it’s fulfilled. Though Hanging of the Greens does it in a more obvious way, the CCM staff creates community throughout the year by being a safe space for all students, and every Tuesday at 1 p.m. during its weekly interspiritual chapel service.
As Webster said, “We’re on earth to build community and relationships,” and it seems that this ontological mission was completed in part during Hanging of the Greens.