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The "A" Mountain Lighting Party lights up the start of this year's Homecoming

Viewing of A Mountain 1
Alexandra Pere | The Daily Wildcat University of Arizona mascots Wilma and Wilbur Wildcat show off their dance moves at the Main Gate Square watch party for the lighting of A mountain on Sunday. The "A" on Sentinel Peak was constructed in 1916.

University of Arizona students danced and cheered in the rain at the traditional Lighting of “A” Mountain party, which kicked off this year’s Homecoming on Sunday, Oct. 21 on top of the Main Gate Garage. Although it was raining, Homecoming cheer and school spirit were not diminished. 

The lighting ceremony, hosted by the Student Alumni Ambassadors as well as the UA Alumni Association, which also funded the event, kicked off at 5 p.m. with pizza, eegee’s, refreshments, a DJ and a cloudy sunset view of “A” Mountain and the Tucson surroundings.

Nina Fitchett, the SAA president and a senior physiology and finance student, helped plan the event. 

“It took a lot of planning. We’ve been working on Homecoming for the past three months,” Fitchett said. 

SAA, the second club that’s part of the UA Alumni Association, had to book the location on top of the Main Gate Garage through Facilities Management, rent the tables and stage from Arizona Party Rentals and get the DJ, Wilbur, Wilma and the alumni band to come.

The club gets all of the honoraries and alumni groups together to celebrate the start of Homecoming week. 

        RELATED: Homecoming 2017: Back where it all began

According to Fitchett, this year’s event was their biggest “A” Mountain lighting ceremony ever.

The club hit full RSVP capacity on its Facebook event page about three weeks ago, and it had participants of the Lighting of “A” Mountain 5k Fun Run come despite its cancellation due to rain.


Alexandra Pere
University of Arizona homecoming queen candidates line up in front of their fellow students at the Main Gate Square watch party for the lighting of A mountain on Sunday. The "A" on Sentinel Peak was constructed in 1916.


“This is a really nice event to kick off Homecoming. Everyone gets together. It’s just really fun. We get free food,” Fitchett said. “It’s just a good time for everybody.”

Ariana Olmos, the Lighting of “A” Mountain chairwoman and an undergraduate sophomore law student, also helped SAA prepare for the event. 

“The fun part was actually getting here and seeing everything come together and seeing it all the way I envisioned it in my head,” said Olmos. She said that they all got there at 1 p.m. to make sure that everything was running smoothly.

The UA Alumni Association President Melinda Burke announced some of the upcoming Homecoming events, such as the parade, tailgate party, bonfire and GLOW. She also announced this year’s nominees for Homecoming king and queen, two of whom will be crowned at the Homecoming Bonfire this Friday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. on the west side of Old Main. 

        RELATED: Homecoming traditions keep the Wildcat spirit alive

When the alumni band started playing the UA Fight Song, the honoraries and groups that came sang along and got pumped up for the official start of Homecoming. Wilbur and Wilma helped get the school spirit soaring high.


Alexandra Pere
Volunteers with the University of Arizona student alumni association provide free Eegees and pizza at the Main Gate Square watch party for the lighting of A mountain on Sunday. The "A" on Sentinel Peak was constructed in 1916.


People at the viewing party counted down at 5:45 p.m. to watch the mountain get lit up by the Bobcats, the senior honoraries, who set up flares each year to actually light up “A” Mountain.

Emeka Chukwunonso, who goes by Nonso and is a Sophos Sophomore Honorary member and physiology student, celebrated with his fellow Sophos. The Sophos and other class honoraries try to get involved on campus as much as they can.

“We’re all about being a part of the UA,” Chukwunonso said. “We all came out to just hang out, see all of our friends and just get ready for the Homecoming event.” 

He said his favorite part was seeing friends and reconnecting with people he hasn’t seen in a while to get pumped for the Homecoming festivities this year.

This year’s “A” Mountain party was not hampered by the rain, and the students that stayed seemed to enjoy their pizza as they danced and sang in the rain. The view of the “A” catching fire on the mountain with the big rain clouds in the background was the perfect start of a new week full of Homecoming festivities.


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