The wait is nearly over; more than 2,000 people will soon pack Odle Arena to witness the next installment of the annual Ivanhoe’s Silent Night game.
For 24 years, Taylor students have packed Odle Arena for one night in a variety of creative costumes, staying silent until the 10th point, when they break out in excitement. This year will be no different.
For Taylor students, it is a welcome break from the stress that finals cause. It is an opportunity for the student body to gather together in community and be rowdy. It is also a period of excitement and strong community in the sense that floors and athletic teams plan what costumes they’ll wear and if they will camp out before the game to get the seats they want.
While many students will enjoy the night and eagerly anticipate next year’s game, the impact the game has on the university is significant.
The amount of media coverage Taylor gets the night of the game and in the following days is astronomically higher than at any other point during the year. Every year, the video of students breaking the silence ends up on ESPN. One video last year, posted to Instagram by a former Taylor student, was seen over 160 thousand times just on her account and was shared by many other accounts on the platform.
A recap video of last year’s event was posted on the Taylor Athletics YouTube channel and was viewed over 40 thousand times. Normally, videos on the account do not get more than a thousand views.
For a short amount of time, Taylor University is pushed into the national spotlight.
“This event gives the outside world a great chance to learn about and then ask questions about Taylor University,” Special Assistant to the President Ron Sutherland said. “When they do, it opens the door to learning more of what makes Taylor special.”
On the athletics side, teams such as football use the game as an opportunity to host recruits. What better way to show recruits what the Taylor community is all about than through this tradition?
“It allows them to feel like they’re already at Taylor without having committed already,” football recruiting coordinator Josh Flannery said. “That is a huge step forward in the recruiting process.”
All year long, admissions host campus tours that pass by a wall in the Kesler Student Activities Center that shows students decked out in a multitude of different costumes from a past Silent Night game.
For admissions, the goal of passing by the mural is to give prospective students a small taste of what the community is like at Taylor.
“Most people when they think of Taylor, they think of (the) middle of nowhere, nothing to do, and Silent Night is such a great indicator that is absolutely not the case,” Executive Director of Admissions Andy Gammons said.
Admissions also has a slideshow they run in their office showcasing Silent Night. Gammons says it never fails to catch the eyes of visitors, speaking to the notoriety of the event.
Silent Night isn’t the sole reason that prospectives want to come to Taylor; it just provides them with a glimpse of the experience they may have.
“It’s a proof of the things we are saying,” Gammons said.
Silent Night is an event that has set Taylor up for success and will continue to help the university reach new heights in the years to come.