Light on the Hill 2022

What do you get when you mix 645 tacos, 40 student clubs, $1,030 in scholarship funds, and sunny weather with the first week of Utah State University’s fall semester? The annual CHaSS Light on the Hill celebration, of course!  

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences held its annual start-of-the-semester ceremony on Aug. 30, welcoming prospective and current students to get to know programs and student clubs in the college.

“I really was interested in the creative writing club….It was really awesome to come here and talk to new people and meet new people and listen to the speakers and their experiences and their advice for starting off the new school year,” said USU student, Shandilynn Thomas.

With a little help from USU’s Army ROTC cadets and a very loud cannon, event master of ceremonies, Dean Joe Ward, kicked off this year’s celebration while standing atop the iconic “Block A” statue.

Due to construction near the amphitheater, which is good news for CHaSS, because it means we’re getting closer to breaking ground on the new Mehdi Heravi Global Teaching and Learning Center, the college had to find a new location for 2022 and settled on the green space outside Old Main’s north entrance. Clubs lined the sidewalk leading to the improvised “Block A” stage, while food trucks fanned out along the other side and quickly attracted long lines of students eager to enjoy dollar tacos, wings, and free snow cones.

Dallin Higgins learned about the event from his Portuguese professor. “It was awesome. It was good to talk to her, and it was cool to meet people in different clubs.”

USU student Olivia Lee said she needed to get out of her dorm room and came to enjoy the social aspects of the evening. “I love the activities,” she explained. “And the tacos are definitely a plus.” Others agreed, and their love of tacos and wings raised more than $1000 in funds that will go toward scholarships for CHaSS students.

As in previous years, guest speakers were invited to address the audience of students, faculty, and staff. This included an introduction to the new CHaSS Student Senator, Carter Ottley, a junior studying journalism and political science, and CHaSS Giraffe Award winner and Associate Director of the USU Center for Anticipatory Intelligence, Briana Bowen, who tried to find her footing while revisiting a previous experience standing on the “Block A.”

“So I get up on the A, and my date goes to dip me, and I just lose one foot, and my arms are windmilling, and this is all happening mid-kiss by the way,” saying she wanted to use her True Aggie experience as a “precursor” to talk about not being afraid to take risks, even if said risks occasionally end in embarrassment.

Alumni presenter, Neil Abercrombie, senior advisor of legislative affairs and policy for another USU graduate, Governor Spencer Cox, spoke about the inherent and practical value of having a degree from CHaSS.

“The next time you’re talking to your family, or your friends, or a lawmaker who’s questioning your decision,” Abercrombie advises, “Just say…I’m focused on elevating the human existence.”

In place of candles, which weren’t allowed on the grass where students gathered, CHaSS ambassadors passed out tea lights to honor the annual lighting of the hill ceremony, and, as the sun set on another ceremony, Dean Ward encouraged students to share their light and support one another, “as we embark on a new academic year.”