Out with the old; in with the new

Students burn 2020 paraphernalia


Photo by: Elodi Breg

Students burn journals, calendars and other mementos from 2020 in a bonfire outside the UC.

The Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored an event called “Light the Way,” in which the FMU community could gather around a bonfire and throw physical mementos of 2020 into the bonfire to release the negative energy.

Tymoshio “Ty” Robinson, president of SGA, helped create and advertise the event.

“The premise of the event was to be inspirational, to kind of give people hope,” Robinson said. “2020 was rough, I’m going to be honest, for all of us. We wanted something that would give students, faculty and staff the medium to forget all of the trials or tough points of 2020.”

The purpose of the event was to promote a symbolic transition from the year of 2020 into the new year of 2021—a year everyone desperately wants to be better.

The Young, Gifted and Blessed (YGB) Gospel Choir, the FMU Choir and Bishop Donald Jackson brought songs and words of inspiration and wisdom.

Jackson, from the Fellowship of Christians Movement (FCM), presented a sermon to emphasize the symbolism of the bonfire and the meaning behind the practice.

“This is what I want to encourage you today—to create optimism,” Jackson said. “Because with the help of God Almighty and your perseverance, you will make it.”

Jackson believes that faith and community will allow people to create a smooth transition between 2020 and 2021. He said not to focus on the past, but instead look toward the future and the opportunities it holds.

“We do not want to bring the negativity of 2020 into 2021,” Jackson said. “As we go into 2021, I know that it is different because of the pandemic; nevertheless, we can make it. Let us continue to pull together as we stay apart.”

Robinson also said the addition of the sermon and the choir enhanced the experience of bringing in a new year.

“Sure, the bonfire was great—giving people an opportunity to burn those symbolic, physical manifestations of 2020 was great,” Robinson said. “But bringing in the choirs and Bishop Jackson was kind of the cherry on top in giving those amazing words of inspiration which gave us more of an ‘oomph,’ and helped commemorate the new year and help light the way for 2021.”

For some students, such as sophomore nursing major Amy McKenzie, the bonfire was a perfect, symbolic way to move on from the past.

“It was pretty cool,” McKenzie said. “Even burning something as simple as a planner. It was a way to get rid of some of that energy.”

For others, it was simply a way to go and socialize safely with friends. Ashaunti Rucker, a junior nursing major, already has limited free time, and COVID-19 makes it difficult to go and socialize during the time she does have.

“This was my first social bonfire, so I kind of wanted to see how it was,” Rucker said.  “I think it was cool.”

COVID-19 is one of the biggest tethers to the negative energy of 2020. Unfortunately, people were unable to throw the pandemic into the fire; however, while the bonfire was symbolic of an energetic transition, it also was a symbol of how working together while following COVID-19 protocol was feasible and could still be fun.

“Even though it wasn’t a huge event, everyone who was there was able to be there because we made it through 2020—and we did so by working collectively to follow the guidelines,” Robinson said.

SGA wants students to be able to enjoy the community and events, but they also prioritize safety. It is more than possible to have a better, fun and active semester—it will simply take proper planning and cooperation.

“In order to light the way for 2021, it is important to follow those same guidelines so that we don’t repeat and don’t fall into the same dark abyss of 2020,” Robinson said. “It’s important for us to all work together to make sure we’re still successful this semester.”