Students delighted as Hug the Lake tradition returns for first time since 2019

UM’s beloved Earth Day tradition known as Hug the Lake was held last Friday for the first time since before the pandemic in 2019.

Hosted by Student Government and the Butler Center and sponsored by ECO Agency, the event consists of hundreds of students joining hands to form a circle around Lake Osceola. Smoothies made by GreenU volunteers and custom t-shirts were provided to participants.

President Julio Frenk takes a photo with students on campus as they prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2022.
President Julio Frenk takes a photo with students on campus as they prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2022. Photo credit: Alexandra Carnochan

Students in attendance expressed their excitement at finally being able to participate in the tradition after its three-year hiatus.

Cate Dougherty, a senior nursing student, says that she is excited to be able to attend the event before graduating in a few weeks.

“I actually have never seen it happen,” Dougherty said. “I think it’s a nice sentiment. I do appreciate Earth Day.”

Madison Praxl, a freshman majoring in marine biology and ecology, expressed her appreciation for the University’s recognition of the environment.

“I think it’s really exciting to have a strong presence of wanting to be sustainable on campus,” Praxl said. “I also just think it’s really sweet. It’s really cute caring for the wildlife that we have on campus, which is so plentiful.”

“I like how everyone came together to celebrate the earth in a meditative moment,” said Stephanie Walcott, a senior majoring in psychology and creative writing.

Students gather to hug the lake in order to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2022 on the Fate bridge.
Students gather to hug the lake in order to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2022 on the Fate bridge. Photo credit: Alexandra Carnochan

Some students were not able to attend but appreciate the efforts surrounding the event.

“I haven’t been able to go to any previous Hug the Lakes because of class and work, but I always thought it was a good event and awareness for an important day,” said Tyler Phillips, a senior majoring in exercise physiology.

The Earth Day event lasted from 11:20 a.m. until 2 p.m., with the “hug” itself taking place from 11:20 to 11:45 a.m. The University’s Alma Mater was performed by the Hammond-Butler gospel choir as the community joined hands around the lake.