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Decking the halls

An old tradition found a new DU home in December.

For 74 years, the DU Women’s College (previously Colorado Women’s College) decked its halls with greenery and celebrated student accomplishments in the annual Hanging of the Greens ceremony.

After the Women’s College moved from Park Hill to the University Park campus in 1999, the celebration took place in the Driscoll Ballroom. But this December, for the first time, white-gloved Women’s College students were able to festoon their new home, the Chambers Center, with evergreen swags.

Helen Shotwell-Bernard, a Colorado Women’s College faculty member, began the tradition in 1930. Based on the medieval practice of the people of a manor gathering for an annual holiday celebration, the Hanging of the Greens also recognizes the accomplishments of the school and its students. At the end of the evening, senior students pass the “light of knowledge,” symbolized by candles, to the next graduating class.

“The procession of our seniors marks the beginning of their academic right-of-passage from students to graduates,” explains Amelia Sapp, manager of Women’s College program services.

This year, more than 200 Women’s College community members, including 36 seniors, joined in the Dec. 18 festivities, which also included an a cappella carol performance. The evening was opened by the ringing of the Williams Carillon bells, and drummers led a procession to an African beat.

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