Return of
the Alumni

Alumni Spirit magazine designer Brett Rawalt (right) got involved with this year’s Nine in the Spine at Winterfest, submitting this photo of his handmade Ewok costume for the Star Wars Cosplay Contest.
Nearly one year into the coronavirus pandemic, it’s no longer surprising to hear when an event has to be reimagined to occur digitally. Although day-to-day schedules are already full of online meetings, UAA alumni still turned up to show their support at one of the university’s most long-standing annual advocacy opportunities.

On Feb. 22-27, alumni tuned in and geared up for the revamped Nine in the Spine at Winterfest. Dubbed This is the Way to Winterfest, this year’s festivities were themed around hit Star Wars show The Mandalorian and consisted of online events and outdoor activities in partnership with UAA Student Activities and Commuter Programs.

“Due to COVID, Student Activities wasn’t sure they could manage Winterfest alone,” said Corey Miller, student activities coordinator. “The Alumni Association stepped up with a series of fun activities, which helped everyone to create a week full of fun and safe events.”

Throughout the week, alumni, community partners, and even students, staff and faculty partook in a Jeopardy-style trivia game, a Q&A roundtable discussion with university leadership and an afternoon of skiing and snowboarding at Hilltop Ski Area.

Hosted by the UAA Alumni Association for the past eight years, the Alumni ParTee: Nine in the Spine normally occurs during the annual Winterfest and brings alumni and community partners back to campus for a night of mini-golf across the Spine.

One of the major fundraisers supporting the UAA Alumni Scholarship, this year’s event provided giveaways worth over $3,000 that helped to generate excitement surrounding the online events and spur giving to the scholarship fund, thanks to the generosity of university partners at Coca-Cola and the Odom Corporation.

“Welcoming our alumni and friends back to campus is always the highlight of our winter,” said Tanya Pont, director of alumni engagement. “While it was disappointing that another one of our most treasured in-person events had to be reworked, it was as inspiring as ever to see the new ways our community rallied together in support of student success.”