Roughly 5,000 UCSB alumni will return to their old stomping grounds this weekend to celebrate the fourth annual All Gaucho Reunion.
The All Gaucho Reunion — organized by the UCSB Alumni Association — features an array of events including various class, department and team reunions, as well as tours, games and panels. To kick off the festivities, students, faculty and staff members are encouraged to don blue and gold UCSB gear today to showcase their Gaucho pride.
All throughout Gaucho Friday, the Gaucho mascot Ole will give away raffle tickets for prizes to those spotted sporting blue and gold. Additionally, the Alumni Association will hand out raffle tickets at the Mosher Alumni House to anyone wearing Gaucho gear. Winners will be announced tonight on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page.
The bookstore will also be offering a 20 percent discount throughout the day on all adult UCSB-logoed merchandise.
Reunion coordinator Monique Ledesma said Gaucho Friday offers the campus a new way to showcase university pride.
“This event is a great way to identify with Ole, our school mascot, which is a fun aspect of UCSB, and show our love and support to our community,” Ledesma said. “This is also a good chance to interact with the faculty, staff and former students. Hopefully this event becomes part of a school tradition. … We hope to have as many people wear their blue and gold today.”
Although he graduated just last year, alumnus David Kemnitz said he has been looking forward to this weekend’s reunion for a long time.
“Alumni weekend gives us a chance to free ourselves from the stresses of the real world,” Kemnitz said. “To remember what it’s like to drink excessively during the day and party like we are 18 again.”
According to UCSB Alumni Association Assistant Director John Lofthus, the unique organization of the event makes it distinct from other college reunions.
“We have billed it as ‘not your average reunion’ in large part because Gauchos are not your average alumni,” Lofthus said. “Instead of the typical class reunions, most of our reunions are based around various groups, including academic departments, sports teams, Greek, etc.”
Class reunions will include the Riviera and Golden Gaucho Reunions, celebrating the classes of 1955-1965. The Earth Sciences and the Environmental Studies program will also hold department reunions at this year’s event. Furthermore, the Education Abroad Program and Recreational Sports Hall of Fame members will meet for a group reunion this weekend, while the all-Greek breakfast reunion will take place Sunday morning.
According to Lofthus, the All Gaucho Reunion has grown from attracting 600 alumni in 2007 to an expected 5,000 this weekend. Lofthus said the reunion’s atmosphere plays a large role in the event’s success, which can eventually yield alumni contributions. Some past alumni donations have led to the construction of Henley Gate and the Mosher Alumni House.
“The events themselves are more relaxed and informal to correspond with who our alumni are,” Lofthus said.
For more information on reunion festivities, visit www.ucsbalum.com.