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Festival of Holiday Lights welcomes the season

Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and their families joined together Nov. 29 for an annual tradition that included songs and St. Nicholas.

Hundreds of luminaries were lit and lined many of the brick paths on campus.


Elon University ushered in the 2012 winter season Thursday evening with its Festival of Holiday Lights, bringing together in the heart of campus hundreds of students, professors, staff and families to revel in the warmth of candles and tree lights.

Sponsored by the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, the program included singing of Christmas carols, the lighting of the Menorah to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hannukah, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus for the young at heart in the crowd, including throngs of students who surrounded the pair for photos.

Visitors were also encouraged to use the #ElonLight hash tag on Twitter and Instagram to share photos and comments with their followers. Search for the tag on both platforms for additional images of the evening.

Students experiencing the event for the first time as well as those who have made a point to attend year after year were in good spirits. They spoke about how it's an Elon tradition they'll always remember. Here's what they said:

“I think it’s definitely one of my favorite Elon traditions. It really shows how beautiful the campus can be. It’s a nice way for the whole community to get together and celebrate the holidays. It’s definitely something I’ll remember when I graduate about life at Elon." - Lindsay Bell, senior, from Reading, Pa.

“I’ve been hearing upperclassmen talk about it a lot. They were really into it and excited about it. I wanted to see for myself how cool it actually was. They highly recommended it, and I can see why. It’s amazing.” - Rachel Jarosz, freshman, from Severna Park, Md.

“I think it’s important for students to come to things like this. We have our friend groups but this gives us a chance to bond with all students as a whole.” -  Brian Binder, sophomore, from Cleveland, Ohio

“It’s magical. … It puts everyone in the mood for Christmas. It’s nice that we go to a school that does this.” - Molly McDermid, freshman, Woodbine, Md.

“I just love the entire season. It’s a way to connect the feeling of having Christmas at home and being here.” - Christian Conway, freshman, from San Diego, Calif.

“I think this is wonderful, the light and the community. It’s good to have a celebration, and it’s well timed. It’s good there are things like this, otherwise I’d be in the library right now, which is all right but this is better I think." - Michael Nedvin, freshman, from Rome, Ga.


Alumni also left reflections on the university's Facebook page earlier in the day about what made the festival special to them when they studied on campus:

Amy Rayman '99: "If I could wiggle my nose and be there tonight, I would. The Festival of Holiday Lights takes an incredibly beautiful campus and makes it even more breathtaking. It's a special night and a very fond memory. Thank you to all of the staff, students and volunteers who make the tradition possible. Enjoy tonight!"

Kerrie Hudzinski Lindstrom '93: "I love that too!! Would be there in a sec... but I'm near San Fran!"

Katherine Spruill '12: "I only graduated six months ago, so the Festival is still a very fresh memory for me. I always loved seeing the luminaries being set up during the day - anticipating how pretty it would be that night always made the day more special."

Cally Stanford '08: "I loved the moment everything turned on. Great tradition."

Jenny Reineck '12: "Got to celebrate the holiday season with my best friends, meet Santa, sip hot chocolate, and pretend to be a kid again in the middle of stressful finals."

Eric Townsend,
11/30/2012 9:32 AM