After much planning and work, Gannon University’s maintenance department once again brightened up the campus with thousands of Christmas lights and decorations at Friday’s Light Up A.J.’s Way ceremony.
Ray Luniewski has worked at Gannon in the maintenance department since 1978 and has been helping to decorate the campus for over 15 years.
Luniewski has been coined “The Christmas One” by some of Gannon’s other staff members because of the amount of time and effort he has invested in helping to get Gannon into the holiday spirit.
The newest addition to Gannon’s festive display includes the use of LED flood lights around Old Main, Luniewski said. These particular LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, can change the color of the building to help capture the holiday ambience.
Although there have been some new additions, Luniewski and his crew have kept with Gannon’s older traditions, which include lighting up A.J.’s Way.
The path running down A.J.’s Way is surrounded by 33 8-foot-tall artificial trees. Luniewski said each of these man-made trees is made from plastic piping and has 210 smaller multicolored LEDs wrapped around the piping.
As for the real evergreen trees that tower over the walkway, they have grown much too tall to continue to decorate them all.
Luniewski said because of this, only three of them have been decorated. These trees have larger, more colorful LEDs woven around their branches to add splashes of color throughout the path.
According to Andy Nagle, the utility crew leader, the crew put up 1,500 big bulbs on the tall trees, 6,000 little ones on the man-made trees and another 3,000 on Zurn. That doesn’t count the ones Luniewski set up other places, Nagle said.
Nagle also said all the lights used around campus are LED because they use much less energy; however, they are still powerful enough to capture the attention of students as they pass by.
Veronica Kowalski, a junior journalism communication major, is one of the many students who have seen some of the decorations and LEDs light up.
“I thought everything looked beautiful and thought about the many people and hours it took to get everything to look so nice,” Kowalski said.
Luniewski said they spend about three to four weeks just preparing. First, they must find the decorations, remove them from storage and then inspect each strand of lights and other decorations for any defects.
It typically takes a small crew made up of about three people to decorate the campus; however, sometimes a larger crew is needed to help move the decorations outside, Luniewski said.
Once the lights are done passing inspection, his crew members then begin to carry the decorations out to their assigned locations, Luniewski said. Once everything has been inspected, he then goes around the campus with his crew and begins setting everything up.
This is just some of the work Luniewski and his crew undertakes each year in order to present the campus community with the annual holiday displays.
Christina Longjohn, a sport and exercise science sophomore, was another student who has seen A.J.’s Way lit up.
“I think they are very pretty,” Longjohn said. “I think the lights kind of facilitate Christmas – when you see the lights, you think Christmas.”
The lights and decorations are a nice reminder that Christmas is on its way, Longjohn said.
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