Traditions and Signature Events

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When you find yourself asking, what makes Fairfield so special? Look no further than the traditions below!

Some of our traditions are rooted in religion and reflection while others give us a chance to celebrate our accomplishments. And a many are just plain fun! These yearly events bring our community together and truly become the heartbeat of our Fairfield Community.


First-Year Convocation

The First-Year Convocation traditionally marks the start of the academic year commemorated by a coming together of the Fairfield University community. In addition to welcoming the new class, it is a time set aside for the community as a whole to reflect on not only academic pursuits but also the larger mission and values of the institution.

Mass of the Holy Spirit

This Mass traditionally marks the beginning of the academic year in Catholic universities around the world—a time when we celebrate and join spiritually with millions in colleges and universities worldwide. The Mass includes a festive procession of students, faculty, staff, and administration, special prayers for community members, and concludes with a procession to the annual Activities Fair and barbecue.

FUSA Presidential Ball

Founded in 2003, the Presidential Ball serves as a kickoff to the fall semester where students have the opportunity to meet and interact with our University President. Pictures with the President are available on the back of Bellarmine Hall followed by dancing and hors d’oeuvres in a large tent. This is a tradition that students of all years look forward to.

FUSA Spring Concert

Every fall, we kick off our basketball season with a pep rally for our men’s and women’s teams. After some slam dunks, giveaways, and other red sea madness, we welcome our fall concert artist. Who will it be next year?

Alumni & Family Weekend

Each October, Alumni & Family come together for a weekend of special events and fun activities during the annual Alumni & Family Weekend. Alumni enjoy mini-reunions with friends and classmates and find out what’s new on campus and families can see how their students are doing after a couple months away at college. Come see for yourself. Reconnect. Enjoy. Don’t miss this year’s AFW!

Clinical Initiation Ceremony

A tradition for nursing students, the ceremony serves as both the starting point of their clinical practice and as a commemoration of the values they will carry with them as they set out into professional healthcare settings.

FUSA Activities Fair

The FUSA-COSO Fall Activities Fair, is an annual event held on the first Friday of each academic year to help students find ways to get connected, get involved, and find their passion. All Fairfield University clubs, organizations, departments, sports clubs, and other community members have a chance to engage with students as everyone enjoys a barbecue sponsored by the University.

Kairos Retreat

The Kairos Retreat is an intensive, three-day weekend experience that invites close examination of our relationships with God, others, and our-selves in a communal and reflective setting. This retreat welcomes students of all faiths as well as those with no particular faith background. The goal of this retreat is to create an environment in which students may grow more fully awakened to the ever-present love of God in their lives. Many students who have attended Kairos claim it was an integral part of their Fairfield experience!

Teddy Bears With Love

In 1999, the Office of Alumni Relations at Fairfield University started what would come to be known as the first annual "Teddy Bears with Love" drive. Thanks to the generosity of thousands of alumni, families, students, employees, and friends of Fairfield University, over 20,000 stuffed animals have been donated to dozens of children’s hospitals and charities not only in Connecticut, but across the country.

Lighting of the Lounges

Lighting of the Lounges is an annual event where the Resident Hall Associations (RHA) decorate their lounge for the holidays during the first week of December. This is a friendly competition among halls that declares a winner for the lounge that has the most holiday and community spirit!

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

This event officially kicks off the Fairfield’s Holiday Season by lighting the large tree by the Egan Chapel Patio! Holiday remarks are delivered by President Mark R. Nemec, PhD, as well as Christmas carols sung by our two on-campus acapella groups, The Bensonians and Sweet Harmony!

Glee Club Christmas Concert

The concert includes a variety of songs ranging from upbeat compositions such as “Sleigh Ride,” to Christian classics including, “Ave Maria,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful,” to get into the holiday spirit.

Clam Jam

Clam Jam is an annual outdoor event, which takes place at Fairfield Beach for our upperclassman students. This concert festival features on the rise artists, waterfront views, and a time for the junior and senior classes to come together to celebrate the end of the semester.

Glee Pop Concert

The Glee Club’s annual Pops Concert offers a unique blend of today’s popular music. Performed with the Pops Band, the concert features soloists and group numbers. It is an opportunity for the members to channel their inner rock star.

Senior Week

Senior Week is a week-long program that offers the graduating class opportunities to strengthen friendships, reflect on their years together at Fairfield, and celebrate their accomplishments as they prepare for the future.


Commencement is the year-end ritual celebrated at every college and university for the conferring of “the degrees in course” to the graduating students. Fairfield University holds two commencements on the third weekend in May at 9:30 a.m. — graduate exercises are held on Saturday, and undergraduate exercises are held on Sunday.

Signature Events & Programs


The Orientation program provides an opportunity for incoming first year students to get acquainted with Fairfield University, other classmates and campus! Students may choose to attend one of two Orientation sessions in June.

First Year Experience

As part of Fairfield’s First Year Experience (FYE) program, all new undergraduate students enroll in a non-credited FYE seminar for their fall semester. Co-facilitated by a faculty or staff member and a student mentor, the seminar teaches Fairfield’s core Jesuit values and discusses topics — such as campus life and resources — to help first-year students acclimate to college.

Fairfield Challenge

Incoming first year students have the opportunity to move-in three days early and jump-start their college experience by engaging in local service, navigating a ropes course, and making new friends.

*The Fairfield Challenge will resume in fall 2022. Please check back for updates.

Fairfield Awards Dinner

Since 1988, this annual event has been a true celebration of Fairfield and has raised more than $20 million for the Alumni Multicultural Scholarship Fund and other endowment scholarships.

STAGiving Day

STAGiving Day is one day, every year when alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends come together for 24 hours to support and celebrate the people and programs that make Fairfield University a special place to be a part of. STAGiving Day has raised more than $17 million since our first event in 2015 to enhance the Fairfield experience for every student who joins our Stag family.

Fairfield StartUp Showcase

The Fairfield StartUp Showcase is the University’s annual entrepreneurship competition and part of the Fairfield StartUp program. At the Showcase select teams, made up of student entrepreneurs, make their business pitches to a panel of investors to compete for seed money in front of a live audience.

Innovative Research Symposium

Celebrate research at Fairfield as students showcase the research projects they've developed in collaboration with faculty mentors to develop projects that extend from the classroom to the world.

Winter Fest

Winter Fest is an annual series of events that takes place in early December to celebrate the end of the semester! FUSA, the Office of Student Engagement, the Office of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, and other offices collaborate to host a series of exciting series of events for students.

Student Leadership Conference

The Student Leadership Conference is an exciting time for student leaders to attain the knowledge, skills, and resources to be effective change agents for the upcoming year, while cultivating a sense of community among the many different groups and positions represented.

Praise Project & Lords Chords Music Ministry

They say singing is praying twice and the two singing groups that canter the Sunday evening masses are as good as it gets. The Praise Project and Lord’s Chords make mass rousing and fun with singers, guitars, percussion and more! What a way to end the weekend! Join the Praise Project at the 6 PM and the Lords Chords at the 9 PM weekly Sunday masses.

Service Immersion Trips

Campus Ministry has a long tradition of offering students the opportunity to spend time in other countries through international and domestic service trips to learn about the realities, hopes, and struggles of those living in situations of economic, political or social marginalization. During these trips, students are challenged to engage in critical awareness of the historical, social, economic, and political realities impacting global locations and communities that we serve. This is also a great opportunity for students to engage in elements of Ignatian spirituality with daily reflective activities and prayer.

Fairfield On Fire

Fairfield on Fire is an annual fall event engaging students across the campus in a day of service. Groups work together at sites in the Greater Bridgeport area in a one day effort to transform the community around us through hands on engagement. Inspired by the words of Saint Ignatius to “go forth and set the world on fire”, we harness the mission of Fairfield University community to set forth a wave of good!

Alumni Job Shadow

Sharpen your career focus, network with alumni in your area of interest, enhance your confidence, spend a day with a Fairfield alum, and see what your future could hold! The Alumni Job Shadow Program is designed to do just that by giving students a unique and up-close look at the work required in industries they are considering. Students also receive helpful career advice from fellow Stags who have been in their shoes. With this insight, students often feel better able to plan for the types of careers they want after Fairfield.

Career & Internship Fair

The Career Center hosts two career fairs each year where students meet with employers and learn about a wide range of internship and employment opportunities available to them.

Walk on Water

Teams of students, mostly first-years and sophomores, put their “Fundamentals of Engineering” course skills to the test with this kinetic, project-based design work that has them build a contraption that must “walk on water” or rather, align with engineering principles to get them efficiently across the pool in record time.

Leadership Recognition Awards

The Ceremony fosters a sense of community amongst our student leaders by honoring and recognizing those students who have gone above and beyond in service to their peers and to the Fairfield University campus community, and who have exemplified the Jesuit values that we hold dear.

Fairfield University Night at Yankee Stadium

In partnership with the New York Yankees, students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to attend a game for Fairfield University Night at Yankee Stadium.

Siblings Weekend

During Fairfield's annual Siblings Weekend, siblings of current students are invited to spend time experiencing the fun and excitement of life as a college student. Weekend activities have included movie and game nights, meals in the Tully Dining Commons, tie-dye social, off campus trips to a local trampoline park, and more!


Stagathon is Fairfield University's official Children's Miracle Network Dance Marathon. Stagathon benefits the children of Fairfield County by raising money for Maria Fareri Children's Hospital. This annual event allows Fairfield students to stand up for the kids and help make miracles happen with their motto, FTK, “for the kids!”

Brave the Shave

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. Their annual Brave the Shave event is their largest annual fundraiser where students, staff and community members shave their head to walk in solidarity with those children affected by cancer.

Relay For Life

Relay for Life is a 12 hour event attended by over 500 students in April. Students form teams and take turns walking laps around a track all night in the RecPlex Fieldhouse to support cancer patients in their fight. The night celebrates survivors and what they’ve overcome, remembering those lost to the disease, and honoring those who are fighting cancer.

Holi Celebration

Celebrate the arrival of spring with Holi! Similar to the Color Run, wear white and leave in color!

Santa's Workshop

Santa’s Workshop follows the official Christmas Tree Lighting, by inviting students to stop by the Barone Campus Lower Level to really get in the Christmas Spirit. Not only are they provided with Santa Hats, but they have the opportunity to take a picture with Santa, decorate a stocking, and enjoy holiday treats, including hot chocolate and cookies while jamming to live Christmas music!

Jazz Your Jack-o-Lantern

This annual event celebrates the fall season and the holiday of Halloween. Students are invited to paint or carve their own pumpkin, sip apple cider and celebrate being half way through the fall semester!

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