Elon University Traditions and the Truitt Center

Traditions — Those rituals, customs and symbols that breathe life and values into our community. They create a sense of belonging and celebrate the rich history of our institution. Since its founding in 1889, Elon has established a history steeped in traditions that connect generations of students, faculty, staff and alumni through lasting memories.

Many beloved Elon traditions are hosted by the Truitt Center. From the weekly Numen Lumen opportunity for reflection and inspiration, to Turning 21 and the Festival of Lights and Luminaries, these traditions are unique to Elon, and are a part of every students’ experience on campus.

Festival of Lights and Luminaries

Hundreds of candle-lit luminaries line the walkways as part of Elon’s annual Festival of Lights and Luminaries tradition. The evening is a celebration of the diverse religious, spiritual, and ethical identities held on our campus, as different groups to host and share their traditions with the community members wending through the paths of the Historic neighborhood, Under the Oaks, and through the Lambert Academic Village. The date for the 2024 Festival of Lights and Luminaries is Tuesday, December 3, 2024 and the rain date is TBD.

Numen Lumen: A Thursday Inspiration

Every Thursday, we gather in the Numen Lumen Pavilion to hear members of the community share pieces of their stories, enjoy live music and artistic expression, and share coffee and refreshments.  Numen Lumen: A Thursday Inspiration takes place every Thursday morning from 9:50 – 10:20 am, during an intentional break from classes.

Learn more about this year’s theme, and our upcoming speakers here.

Numen Lumen: Senior Baccalaureate Reflection

Numen Lumen: Senior Baccalaureate Reflection provides graduating seniors an opportunity to come together as a class for reflection ahead of their graduation.

The celebration of community, light and achievement provides an opportunity for reflection on the light students will take into the world. The ceremony’s name echoes Elon’s motto “numen lumen,” which means “spiritual light” and “intellectual light.”

Following the candle-lit ceremony, each graduate is given an oak sapling by an Elon alum, symbolic of the transition from students to alumni.

The Ripple Conference

At The Ripple Conference, Elon’s annual student-led interfaith conference, participants are invited to engage in a multifaith experience that inspires them to explore their own identities, ask tough questions, and further engage in sustained interfaith within their own communities.

Turning 21

The transition to adulthood is a milestone, a celebration, and a life-changing experience. At Turning 21 we celebrate students’ journeys, and honor those who accompany them along their way to adulthood.

The connections that students make with faculty and staff are a central part of their Elon journey.  These meaningful relationships matter, so when they turn 21, students are invited to attend a dessert buffet gathering and enjoy a sweet treat with a staff or faculty member who has been a support, a guide, a friend, or an advisor during their time at Elon.

We invite students to think about who they want to be for the rest of their lives, and the impact of Elon’s warm and supportive community.  As part of Turning 21, students are invited to write a reflection about their relationship with that faculty or staff member.

All participants will also receive a special Turning 21 mug as a happy birthday gift from the Truitt Center.