Student Alumni Ambassadors kicked off the 98th Homecoming week of festivities with the lighting of the “A” on “A” Mountain on Sunday.
UA students, staff and alumni joined together with Wilbur and the Arizona cheerleaders on the top floor of the Main Gate Parking Garage to experience the Wildcat tradition of viewing the ceremony.
Student Alumni Ambassadors, which is sponsored by the Student Alumni Association, held the event to help students give back to the university that gave them more than just an education, said Ahva Sadeghi, a sophomore studying political science, philosophy, economics and law, and the vice president of alumni relations.
“Where you go to school is not just something for four years, but the education that you receive goes on for a lifetime,” Sadeghi said.
More than 200 people attended the event set on the rooftop of the garage. The event kicked off at 5 p.m., right at sunset, while attendees tailgated over food, drinks and music.
The lighting of the “A” flared at 5:54 p.m., just as the sun settled behind the mountain.
Many current students attended the celebration, including Paulina Bueno, a psychology sophomore. This event was not just meant for students, but for the whole community to mingle, meet new people, and honor the history of the university, Bueno said.
In previous years, this event was not shared by the community, but this year the UA Alumni Association felt it was an important enough symbol for the beginning of homecoming to have the community involved, said Melinda Burke, the association’s president.
The Homecoming feeling and spirit will be spread throughout the community by promoting the events to reach out to all alumni.
“I think this is an awesome way to kick off homecoming week in a light-spirit, casual way and at the same time celebrate the lighting of the ‘A’,” said Michelle Hutchinson, a UA alumna and volunteer advisor to the Student Alumni Ambassadors.
Through this event and Homecoming Week, Hutchinson said, she feels that she is giving back to the university that encouraged her and gave her the resources to be successful in her career today.
“It means that my husband and I are giving back to an institution that gave so much to us,” Hutchinson said.
With more people showing up than expected, the event had a great turnout, said Dana Dobbins, president of Student Alumni Ambassadors and a junior studying political science, philosophy, economics and law and Spanish.
“SAA is the largest student-run organization on campus,” she added, “And our goal is to promote students to be Wildcat for life and share that school pride.”