Debra Born, Assistant Features Editor
Utica College is preparing for a milestone in 2021 – its 75th anniversary – and the college is looking for student insight to help plan the celebration.
Kelly Adams, assistant vice president of advertising/marketing and communications, started a committee to begin planning the anniversary. The college will incorporate input from students, faculty and staff as well as alumni and other key stakeholders.
The college will commemorate its anniversary with a series of events and initiatives. The activities will most-likely be spread out over the 2021-22 academic year. A major piece of the planning will revolve around a signature celebratory event, which will probably be coordinated with Homecoming Weekend.
The anniversary will be celebrated differently compared to past years and UC wants to bring new ideas to the 75th celebration.
Cybersecurity freshman Luqman Khamizan said that he wants to see fireworks at the celebration, UC swag and a barbeque. He suggested that club organizations also host events at the celebration.
“The anniversary could support the community coming together at the same time and spread awareness of things going on around campus,” Khamizan said.
Khamizan will be able to participate as a student when the commemoration takes place in 2021-2022.
Amanda Pearson is a continuing student at UC. She graduated in 2015 with a degree in Communication Arts and she is now a senior in Liberal Studies in Childhood Education. Pearson has strong school spirit and said the college has a lot to celebrate.
“Utica College puts you in the community,” Pearson said. “And that’s something that hopefully they continue.”
Several students said they want a large alumni involvement.
The college has plenty of space to host an event open to the community, according to Rachel Rey, a senior and first-year grad student in the Occupational Therapy 3-plus-2 program.
Rey said she would like to see some Homecoming Weekend activities to included in the anniversary celebration.
“I like the carnival that they do on campus,” Rey said.
Rey also wants to see sports at the festivities, including a football game.
Sara Lowell is a junior in the Childlife Psychology major and will have graduated by 2021, but she wants to experience it as an alumna.
“They have so many people that come here and that are willing to come here that they appeal to a large spectrum of people,” Lowell said. “They have a good graduation success rate. The anniversary should focus on that.”
Lowell said UC’s diversity is something to celebrate at the anniversary. She also talked about the anniversary as an occasion to recognize teachers and College partners. Lowell said that the College’s community involvement and graduation rate should factor into the commemoration.
“Fireworks would be cool,” Lowell said. “Just having fun, talking, music and dancing to keep it uplifting and upbeat.”
An outdoor concert with a mix of cultural music was suggested by senior Trevor Anderson.
Other ideas from Anderson include field day events such as a large game of football, ultimate frisbee, kickball or volleyball tournament.
“Maybe something they could win prizes in like a scavenger hunt around campus, with prizes like Amazon gift cards,” Anderson said. “Anything that creates competition.”
Anderson said UC’s mascot should be a focal point and suggested a “Celebrate the Moose Day.”
“We can all wear Utica stuff, like a pride day,” Anderson said.
Alyssa Lombardo is a freshman in the Psychology Child Life major. She suggested the college host contests and sport-type events.
“I feel like it would be good if they did a pep rally for the whole school,” Lombardo said. “Like an event to hype up the students.”
Lombardo said that the college strives to encourage more interaction between students.
“I feel like they do a lot to bring us together,” Lombardo said.
Lombardo enjoyed several of the Homecoming Weekend events.
“The carnival would be fun to bring back,” Lombardo said.
She also wants the college to host a glow party in which students would have glow sticks and wear white to reflect off their clothes. Lombardo suggested hosting the glow party in the big grassy area in front of Strebel and include music and a sport.
UC’s history dates back to the 1930s when Syracuse University started expanding to the Utica area. SU officially launched Utica College in 1946 in Oneida Square, located in downtown Utica. The college moved to its current location on Burrstone Road in 1961.
The goal of the events is to bring the UC community together to commemorate the 75th anniversary and to celebrate the past, present and future of the college.
“Utica College has a remarkable history and story, and occupies a special place in the hearts of so many people,” Adams said.