It’s that time of the year again.

An event well known to many Columbia students is the annual tree lighting ceremony, taking place this year on Thursday, December 2. Students of all the schools will gather on College Walk as the beautiful winter lights illuminate the campus. Since the ceremony was online last year, many students are unaware of the correct steps to take before observing the tree lighting ceremony. As Bwog’s resident tree specialist and a paragon member of Columbia’s arboreal community, I care to ensure that you’re each prepared for the tree lighting ceremony and will have the best experience possible, with no twigs attached!


Something that I and many of the other tree lovers at Columbia often struggle with is being distracted by the trees themselves during the tree lighting ceremony. The trees are especially elegant during the winter due to the lack of leaves and bareness of the branches. To prevent myself from getting distracted, I normally spend around five to six hours perusing through to tame my tree fantasies. While the time it takes to subdue your arboreal urges may vary, I and many other prominent tree connoisseurs highly recommend or similar websites.

Scout Out the Trees

Another thing you might want to do before the tree lighting ceremony is to scout out the area. Optimally, you want to look for an area with the highest BPV, or bark per volume. Unfortunately, Digital BPV calculators are all sold out and being scalped on eBay and Amazon for two times the retail price at $15,000, so you will probably need to calculate the BPV by hand using this formula: 

Epsilon and Kappa are the tree proportionality constants, Acos(theta) is the area, T is the tree count, and V is the volume of the region. An additional factor to look out for are high levels of  THI, or tree-hugging index, in order to receive the most oxytocin hormones. I discussed the THI in a previous article but to recap, the tree-hugging index is determined by the magnitude of girth, circumference, diameter, and ease of access to students. All the trees in this case should have the same ease of access, and the other measurements can be taken with a tape measure. 

Prepare Protective Gear

The instant when the lights are ignited, one’s body will undergo many processes due to the intensity of energy being emitted and the beautiful spectacle that is the tree lighting ceremony. It is important to bring protective gear to prevent your body from being harmed by these events. A type of protective gear I occasionally go for are radiation suits akin to those worn by astronauts to protect from sun radiation. They can be purchased from online retailers, like Amazon, and offer physical and energetic protection against the hazards posed by the tree lighting ceremony. If you choose to enjoy hugging the trees during the ceremony, you should be glad to know that these protect your body and, more importantly, the trees from any damage.

Write an Ode to the College Walk Trees

A way to help you emotionally prepare yourself for the tree performance is to write an ode to the Trees on college walk. Writing odes is a tradition of Bwog’s, and it helps you verbalize and put to paper what you are truly feeling on the inside. Odes are a celebration of some of the important things in life, and writing one can help you prepare yourself for the arboreal extravaganza that is the tree lighting ceremony. As an avid tree appreciator, I will be writing an ode for the trees. 

Rapid Fire Alternative Options

In case you still need some extra advice, here is a list of some other options that could also help you for the tree lighting ceremony:

  • Tell yourself in the mirror, “you can do this”
  • Absorb the trees and lights in small doses 
  • Arrive a couple of hours beforehand to secure your view
  • Assemble a team of other tree enjoyers to observe the display

If, unfortunately, you cannot make it to the tree lighting ceremony, do not fear. The trees will be gracefully illuminating campus until February of next year, which will allow plenty of time for arboreal appreciators to gaze upon and enjoy them. 

tree equation via Jake Torres

arboreal extravaganza via Bwog Archives