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Huskie Pride Lights initiative announced

March 17, 2021

Celebrating the accomplishments of our fellow Huskies is an important part of the NIU experience and one of the most visible is the relatively new tradition of lighting the tower on the Holmes Student Center red to acknowledge a special achievement or day.

It’s a stirring symbol that can be seen for miles in every direction, but it also comes with challenges. How best to determine when to light it up, and how to communicate what is being commemorated?

A cross-campus committee with representatives from the student center, student affairs, faculty, student government, athletics, the president’s office, and university communications developed a policy to formalize what types of achievements and days will be celebrated and how to promote it. That proposed policy was reviewed by the policy library committee and approved by President Lisa Freeman on March 16.

The initiative was given the name Huskie Pride Lights to tie in the lighting of the HSC with the iconic Huskie Pride Sculpture located just across the Martin Luther King Jr. Commons.

“We are excited to launch the Huskie Pride Initiative,” said President Freeman’s Chief of Staff, Matt Streb, who chaired the committee.  “There are so many great moments and accomplishments happening at NIU and now our community will know when something special happens at NIU because they will see the HSC tower lit red.  We believe this will be the start of a wonderful new tradition.”

The tower will be lit red during the following university events:

  • Commencement Weekend
  • Homecoming Weekend
  • NIU’s Anniversary (July 15)
  • Welcome Days
  • Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day
  • Faculty and Staff Awareness Ceremonies
  • Red and Black event
  • Special events at the Holmes Student Center

Additionally, the tower will be lit red in recognition of the following athletic achievements:

  • Mid-American Conference Championships (individual or team)
  • NCAA Tournament wins
  • NCAA Tournament selection (individual or team)
  • Bowl game wins
  • Boneyard (Power Five) wins in all sports

Other occasions to light the tower red will come about when the university receives national recognition, or at the president’s or president’s designee’s discretion.

One important date will not be commemorated with the red lights. On February 14 each year, in memory of the five students who were lost on that date in 2008, the HSC tower will be dark.

To best relay to the community why the tower is lit on any given day a new Huskie Pride Lights page has been created on the NIU website at, and there is a special feed on the university events calendar that you can follow.