After a year of pandemic, Campus Kickoff 2021 hopes to offer a triumphant return to UAA

Campus Kickoff is a fair, welcoming students as they come to campus for the start of the fall semester. Photo Courtesy Christina Swayney

The University of Alaska Anchorage Campus Kickoff will be held from 1-4 pm on Saturday, Aug. 21. The event serves as a celebration of the start of a new school year, as well as a welcome to the UAA campus for new students. The event will feature organizations from within the university and around the greater Anchorage community, as well as live performances and giveaways. 

Student Organizations Coordinator Allie Hartman spoke about how this year’s campus kickoff will be unlike previous year’s. 

Hartman describes Campus Kickoff as “the welcoming event of the year,” an opportunity for students to visit the campus, get a sense of where classes are located, and meet other students and members of their departments. 

Because there was not a Campus Kickoff in 2020, there are now two years worth of students who may never have seen the UAA campus. There are also students who were not on campus in 2020, but who got involved in various groups or organizations in an entirely online capacity. This event will likely be the first time many of them are able to actually meet in person. 

Campus Kickoff has historically been hosted in the Cuddy Quad, but this will be the first year that the event takes place at the Alaska Airlines Center, in the outdoor plaza and parking lot. Photo Courtesy UAA Gymnastics

For the first time, Campus Kickoff will be held at the Alaska Airlines Center, after previously being held annually in the Cuddy Quad. The event will be held outside, with Hartman saying “it’s an outdoor event, rain or shine, this year will be no different.” The fair will be spread around the exterior of the building, in the plaza and into the parking lot, though much of the parking lot will still be available for event parking. 

Currently, there are more than 90 student organizations and departments registered to be present at Campus Kickoff, with Hartman hoping to cross the big 100. Previous years generally had around 120, the difference is attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Due to the pandemic, only community organizations that had previously contributed to Campus Kickoff were permitted to participate this year. 

Hartman explained this policy “as the first event of the summer, to make it a totally public event would be a drastic change.” 

The National Guard rock wall is a very stand out attraction, and not just because it literally stands above the crowd. Allie Hartman confirmed it will be back for this year's event. Photo Courtesy Christina Swayney

Some community partners who were invited to participate could not due to ongoing staffing shortages. Students can look forward to seeing long-time partners like People Mover and the National Guard, with their rock wall, at the event.

Campus Kickoff will adhere to UAA’s COVID-19 mitigation plan, individuals who have not been vaccinated will be required to wear masks. Social distancing will be encouraged for all attendees. Case numbers are rising in Anchorage, and Hartman stated that if guidance from the university changes, the guidelines will be updated for the event.

Unique to Campus Kickoff 2021, the Municipality of Anchorage Wellness on Wheels campaign will be offering a vaccine clinic. Attendees will be able to get their first shot and schedule their follow-up at the UAA Student Health and Counseling Center. 

Hartman also teased “substantial giveaways” and live events, with further information dropping in the coming weeks as hype builds for the event.

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