Elon University’s campus will shine bright with lights Tuesday for its annual Festival of Lights and Luminaries. The campus tradition, held from 6:30 to 8 p.m., is a space where students and community members can learn about the diverse religions, cultures and traditions represented on Elon’s campus.
Kirstin Boswell, university chaplain and dean of multifaith engagement, said the goal of the festival is to create a space for students to educate and celebrate each other and celebrate the world around us.
“Increased awareness and understanding of the common threads that run through the world’s religious, spiritual, ethical and philosophical frameworks help us to see that we are not as different as we sometimes think,” Boswell said.
This year will be the first year Hillary Zaken, interim assistant dean of multifaith engagement, has been involved with coordinating the Festival of Lights and Luminaries.
Zaken highlighted the ways the lights and luminaries festival celebrates intersectional identities on campus. Students can find a station that resonates with their identity, while simultaneously learning about other cultures, all within the beautifully lit-up campus.
“If I had a recommendation, it would really be to work your way through the entire festival so you have a chance to experience and see all of these different traditions and cultures,” Zaken said. “All members of our Elon community should take this opportunity to immerse themselves in different religious, social, ethical and cultural traditions on campus.”
This is also the first year that the Asian-Pacific Student Association is participating in the festivities. Students will be able to write wishes on lanterns and float them in pools of water at a station hosted by the organization.
In addition, the Lambert Academic Village will have eight different clubs host stations showcasing different cultures and celebrations. Other activities include sustainable gift wrapping, a cappella performances and sparklers celebrating the light.
“Walking through campus and seeing it with the luminaires for the first time,” Zaken said, “I think it's a really unforgettable experience.”