The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Lights of Esperanza attracts local community

Lights of Esperanza attracts local community - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Jaguarettes dance team perform for the wandering crowd with a kickline performance at the Lights of Esperanza event Nov. 29, 2022. Photo by Riana Tovar

The local community joined in holiday festivities throughout the campus the evening of Nov. 30 for Lights of Esperanza at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. 

Starting off with lively Christmas music and light-up Santa hats giveaways, the event began at 4 p.m. for students and opened to the public at 6 p.m.

The Lights of Esperanza had events throughout the night- a holiday pop-up market from local small businesses, food trucks from local vendors, hot chocolate and cookies, as well as a section for kids to have snowball fights and play inflatable mini golf. 

Student organizations also set up  activities. The Sigma Delta Lambda sorority had a photo opportunity to take a Polaroid picture for $2. 

Biology major Fatima Tovar said she came to the event to help set up the Polaroid fundraiser. 

“It’s a cute keepsake and the proceeds help the sorority,” Tovar said. 

Other clubs had craft-themed activities. The Coalition had bracelet-making, and the Language Literature Arts department had poetry and card-making. 

“I’m really excited for the light show later, and I’m happy all these families and everyone are here,” said Sierra Sanders, the treasurer of Coalition and public relations coordinator of the Black Student Union, after explaining that there were a lot more people attending than the previous years.

The Sociology club sold agua frescas, and the Honor Student Association had churros for $2. 

Attendees included students, faculty and people from the Southside. 

Military veteran Carlos Najena, from the local area, came to support the Christmas event. 

“I served in the military, in the U.S. Coast Guard as a lieutenant for 28 years. During that time I missed out on some holiday events, so this is nice,” Najena said. 

While he came out early to the eve,  Najena said, “I’m enjoying it so far, still figuring it out. It feels like an adventure, there’s so much to do.” 

Though it was a slow beginning, members of the local community came out to support Texas A&M University-San Antonio. 

Gladys Jacobson and Hugh Hardin first heard about the event through a flyer from the mail. 

“We’ve been wanting to come, especially since it’s open to the public,” Jacobson said, “Favorite so far is the snowballs for the kids, so community-friendly.”

“And the entertainment and the free hats!” Hardin added. 

During the event, Hardin and Jacobson said they enjoyed it. It was their first Christmas event

However, Hardin and Jacobson did have some remarks on what the event could be for next year. 

“The parking was confusing. Next time, it would be convenient to let them know where to park,” Hardin said.

“And more food trucks!” Jacobson added.

A local boy visits the Jaguar Writing Center booth, eager to write his letter to Santa at the Lights of Esperanza event Nov. 29, 2022. Photo by Riana Tovar

Throughout the night, a variety of performances filled the air with music and cheering from the wandering crowd.

Sajayra Buenfil, a member of the Jaguarettes dance team, shared how excited she was to be a part of the event during her first year at A&M-San Antonio.

“This is my first time being in dance, so it’s a new experience, and I am really enjoying so far,” Buenfil said.

Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio, also attended the event and gave the opening speech, then visited the attractions throughout campus.

“Don’t you think it’s incredible? I’m over the moon with how I feel because there’s so many wonderful things going on, and it’s great to see the community come out and the lighting is beautiful,” Matson said.

Matson described how she felt about attending her last Lights of Esperanza event on campus. 

“It’s bittersweet,” said Matson, who will leave A&M-San Antonio to become president of San Jose University in California in January.

“My heart is heavy, but I’m trying to enjoy every moment.”

About the Authors

Beatriz Pizarro
Beatriz Pizarro is a communications sophomore at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She transferred from Houston Community College. In her spare time, she like sketching and hanging out with friends. Other times, she is studying, cooking or listening to music. She enjoys fashion and hopes to become a fashion journalist.
Riana Tovar
Riana Tovar is a communications junior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She received her Associate of Studio Arts from Lamar State College-Port Arthur in August 2022. She is a gymnastics coach in addition to being a full-time student and college softball athlete. In her spare time, she enjoys taking pictures, coaching softball and painting. Upon graduating, she hopes to pursue a career in social media management or digital media.

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