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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Students, Alumni kickoff Homecoming with lighting of ‘A’ Mountain celebration

Students%2C+Alumni+kickoff+Homecoming+with+lighting+of+A+Mountain+celebration
Steven Spooner

Alumni, students and children gathered on top of Main Gate Garage to watch the lighting of “A” Mountain and celebrate the kick off of the 102nd Homecoming Week.

People gathered at 5 p.m. to enjoy the free food, DJ and the scenic view of “A” mountain and Tucson.

The event was put on by the Student Alumni Association, who began planning this event in the first week of school, according Austin Tymeck, SAA president and physiology senior.

“It’s mainly organized by our Task Force, which is 16 people this year, but we need volunteers from our entire general member population which is about 600 people,” Tymeck said. “They were crucial in setting this up today. They’ve been promoting this on social media, just getting the word out, letting people know.”

SAA had a budget of $3,000, which they used to book the DJ, rent the parking spaces with Parking and Transportation, pay for food and set up the tables.

“Each year we like to keep building off of [past events].” Tymeck said. “We see what works and what doesn’t work.”

Junior Ian Barton, an accounting and finance student, was the main person who set up the event as lighting of “A” Mountain chair for SAA.

The main change for this year’s event was marketing.

“[We tried] to get more alumni to come,” Barton said. There were almost 300 RSVPs on the event’s Facebook page.

The crown turned to the stage as Marc Acuña, director of chapters, clubs, and student relations for SAA, riled everyone up, chanting “Go Cats!” to which everyone responded “Bear Down!”.

Acuña passed the microphone to Carolina Higuera, motor board president and UA senior, and Kelly Maroney, homecoming king selection chair and UA senior, who announced the Homecoming court for the first time, all ten students making a line in front of the stage, and reminded everyone to vote for the king and queen at the bonfire on Oct 28th.

At 6:05, the “A” began to glow as members of Bobcats Senior Honorary lit flares placed among the whitewashed rocks. The alumni and pep bands began playing the Alma Mater and UA fight song, and everyone cheered as Homecoming week officially started.

Class of ’99 alumna Taica Shariee, president of the Alumni Association’s Chicago Chapter for three years, recently moved back to Tucson to pursue her masters degree. Shariee enjoyed the event for the sense of community it brought. “That whole ‘Wildcat for Life’ saying is really true,” Shariee said. “I’ve cherished such long and lasting friendships [from the UA] it’s hard not to be a part of [the community], no matter if I’m 1800 miles away or just 5 miles down the street.”

Melinda Burke, president of the Alumni Association, was very pleased with the support from the community at the event. “I think the most important part of the Alumni Association is connecting our alumni for life” Burke said. “The more connected out alumni are the stronger our university is. Creating these bonds is our way of strengthening the university.”

While Homecoming has been going on for over 100 years, this viewing party only started about five years ago. Higuera, who first came to the event sophomore year with Smores, saw a difference in the event. “It’s a different vibe each time,” Higurea said. “It’s still the same thing but to see the community have more support for it and to see kids running around … It’s not just students who are enjoying it it’s alumni and families.”

As the A burned out after a half hour, the event began winding down, but Homecoming Week is only beginning.


Follow Rocky Baier on Twitter.


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