Get off the couch

The new semester brings with it homework and many responsibilities for students during an uncertain time. It can be helpful to participate in events and activities during the semester to decompress and relax. There are some good options on and off campus this fall.

Graphic by Michaeline Collins.

Activities on campus:

Avatar: The Last Airbender Trivia

What: Test your knowledge about this fantasy film with this fun trivia challenge. This event is part of UAA Weeks of Welcome.

When: Sept. 1, 7-8 p.m.

Where: Online (go to UAA Student Commuter Programs and Activities for upcoming details.)

Cost: Free

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UAA Love Poem Competition

What: Students can showcase their poetry skills in this poetry contest judged by a Spoken Word artist. Poems should have a love theme and can be happy, sad, deep or any emotions the students’ inner poet wants to express. This event is part of UAA Weeks of Welcome.

Where: The event day details are to be announced submissions can be turned in from Sept. 1-25 at 5 p.m.

When: The date of the event is to be announced. Visit UAA Student Commuter Programs for upcoming details.

Cost: Free

Visioning for your Future: Exploring Majors and Careers

What: First Year Advising and Career Services will assist students in deciding on a degree and career path at the Compass Workshop.

When: Sept. 23, 1-2 p.m.

Where: Online via Zoom. Please complete the sign-up sheet to participate and have a UAA I.D. number handy for the form.

Cost: Free

Activities around town:

Blueberry Picking

What: Now is the time to pick blueberries around Alaska. This activity allows social distancing while being outdoors. Spots known for picking berries are Girdwood, Arctic Valley and Hatcher Pass. Bring a bucket, appropriate attire for the weather and some patience to gather all of those blues.

When: August is prime blueberry picking season in Alaska and berries begin to disappear by early September.

Where: A full list of berry picking spots can be found at Alaska Public Media. Some places such as Hatcher Pass, have free parking while others like Arctic Valley charge for parking. Check the location’s website for more information.

Cost: Usually up to $5 for parking, which will have a pay box at most parking areas that require a fee to park but berry picking itself is free

Northern Lights Viewing

What: The Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon that has many looking to the sky to see the natural light show. ‘The lights,’ as Alaska residents refer to them, have already been spotted in Northern Alaska, such as Fairbanks and the Yukon in mid-August. As long as the KP forecast has moderate activity, it is dark outside  and weather conditions are moderately clear, there is always a chance that one will see this spectacular display.

When: The Northern Lights can be seen from late August to late April. There is no set time as they are revealed spontaneously and may appear as long as the skies are dark enough. Check the Aurora Forecast at the University of Fairbanks Geophysical website.

Where: has a great list of places to view The Northern Lights in and around Anchorage, such as Point Woronzof, the Glen Alps Overlook and the Anchorage Downtown Viewpoint.

Cost: Free


What: There are many great places to hike or have a leisurely walk in and around Anchorage. Trails can be easy like The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to intermediate like The Flattop Trail and Crow Pass. Hikers going on more difficult treks should always notify someone before they go on their hike where they will be, in case they get lost so someone knows where to find them. Hiking safety is also recommended and hikers should be bear aware at all times.

When: Hiking in Alaska is popular in all seasons but may be more convenient for some before the weather turns chillier as winter approaches.

Where: Some popular trails in and around Anchorage are Flattop, Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Crow Pass and Rendezvous Peak. There are more options at Visit Anchorage.

Cost: Free