Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Annual holiday parade welcomes CEES

Mia Morgillo

The annual Holiday Parade has been a tradition in Plattsburgh for the past six years, and this year, for the first time ever, the Center for Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) department will be included. This year’s theme is “Superheroes Celebrate the Holidays.” While some may think of household names like Superman and Spider-Man, the CEES department will be creating a float featuring Swamp Thing, or as Associate Professor Mary Alldred calls it “protector of the green.” Assistant Professors Alldred and Mark Lesser are behind the idea. As repeat parade goers, they saw an opportunity to get the department involved in the community, and jumped at the chance.

Downtown Plattsburgh will be hosting the holiday parade and tree lighting ceremony Dec. 4. 

“CEES students are always good about stepping up to do these kinds of things,” Alldred said. “Whether they have the time or not, if it’s something worth doing they’ll put the effort in to make it happen.” 

She describes Swamp Thing as “green, gruff and red eyed.” Lesser explains that he envisions the truck to be “decked out like a swamp, but with a Christmas tree,” with the Thing relaxing in its habitat. Students will not only be involved in the creation of the float, but also participate in the parade itself. Dressed for the field, they will walk alongside the truck and pass out candy to parade audience members. 

The CEES department prides itself in carrying a special energy in and of itself. 

“When I came here, the collaborative energy and the positive energy that we all give to each other is just unique to here,” Alldred said. 

From chili cook offs, to jumping to get students involved in research, and even hosting dinners at their homes, the faculty aim to put in extra effort that goes above and beyond the typical professor-student experience.

“The students really want to get involved — they’re here because they want to do something related to environmental science, and it shows,” Alldred said. 

Lesser said he feels outgoing and involved in trying to do outreach events with the students and the larger community. The department aims to set a high standard for the rest of the school and demonstrates how an invested professor produces invested students. 

Community Engagement Director for the City of Plattsburgh, Courtney Meisenheimer, specifically noticed the department’s application for the parade float. 

“I’m excited for everybody to come back together in the spirit of the holidays and celebrate our community,” Meisenheimer said.

After not having many in-person events last year, it’s a good opportunity for students to get involved with the holidays this year.

“We always want SUNY students to feel really welcome downtown, and participate in events in our community,” Meisenheimer said. She also encourages students to get involved in the parade if they wish, noting it’s free of cost. 

The city is looking for some helping hands for all of the festivities. 

The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m., starting down Brinkerhoff Street, and ending at the intersection of Margaret and Broad Street. Prior to the parade itself, there will also be a Super Santa 5K Relay and Elf Dash at 3:00 p.m., Nancy Langlois School of Dance and Antwon Levee & Dust will perform at 5:00 p.m.. Afterward, Center Stage Dance Studio and local acapella group Fermata Nowhere will perform. A tree lighting will be held at the Strand Center for the Arts, followed by a showing of Home Alone at 25 Brinkerhoff.

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