Events | 21 March 2018

Come home, Banana Slugs

By Dan White

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Alumni Weekend 2018: action-packed long weekend celebrates the best qualities of UC Santa Cruz

Slugs, come home! Time to book those plane reservations, lock down that hotel room, and check the air in your tires. The annual migration back to your alma mater will soon begin.

The Return of the Prodigal Slugs, otherwise known as Alumni Weekend 2018, will be a moveable slug-fest for alumni and their loved ones. Attractions include a tour through the labs of Science Hill,  a roof-raising lecture about ethical universities, a peaceful stroll through an organic farm, and an energetic 5k run through campus.

This extravaganza, with a “Come Home!” theme, will be so much more than a mere “reunion.”

Sure, a lot of reuniting will take place in the course of this three-day weekend, which runs from Friday, April 27, through Sunday, April 29. For instance, you are likely to run into that unrequited crush you met at that psychology seminar all those years ago, or have a spirited conversation with that roommate or resident advisor that you haven’t set eyes on since the Carter administration. The nostalgia just might overwhelm you. At one recent reunion, an alumna walked through her old cafeteria, while shouting “Flashbacks, flashbacks!” at anyone within hearing range.

Returning Slugs will have many chances to meet up at their old colleges and mark important milestones. For instance, Merrill College and Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) will both hold 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday. The weekend will also include the 20th anniversary celebration for the Everett  Program and 10th anniversary festivities at the World Learning Cafe at Kresge College.

But the weekend will also be about atmosphere, learning, and having a good old time. Many features that made last year’s Alumni Weekend such a hit with attendees will be back again, from an artisanal carry-out lunch on Saturday, April 28, to a registry showing which Slugs will be attending this year. But there will also be new twists, including a peep into the life of pumas and a behind-the-scenes look at UC Santa Cruz’s beloved radio station, KZSC FM, with a chance for former broadcasters to strut their stuff on their on all three days of Alumni Weekend.

Attendance is always strong at select Alumni Weekend events; just to avoid disappointment and make sure you’ve locked down your spot at a talk or college brunch that catches your eye on the online schedule of events, always make sure to pre-register for events.

Though the schedule seems action-packed, there will be lots of room to let loose and relax, take in the forested campus, meet award-winning author Reyna Grande, watch the sunset spread across the Monterey Bay, and attend as many networking luncheons as you wish.  And don’t let the logistics intimidate you. An interactive Plan Your Visit web page makes it easy to get parking information, figure out where to stay near UC Santa Cruz, and make your way around the beguiling 2,000-acre forested campus.

There’s also a new app this year, which registered attendees will be invited to download and use. The app will have a full listing of events as well as your registered events, locations, descriptions, maps, a list of who’s coming, and more. In addition, the app makes it easy to exchange contact info with people you run into. For the convenience of guests, organizers will once again host centralized registration in Quarry Plaza all day on Saturday, April 28. Starting at 10 a.m. staff will have maps, information tables, music, snacks, and easy access to all events. Also for guest convenience, free transportation shuttles will run every day.

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