Sept. 1, 2020

Chaotic times call for creative solutions — Alumni Weekend becomes Alumni Month

Programming adjustments reflect the new 4 Rs, rethink, reset, revive, rebound

The University of Calgary is not just a place — it's a community. And, if the current uncertainty in the world has taught us anything, it is that the strength of our community and the common bond we share endures through even the most trying of times.

“Trying” being the operative word here. After much deliberation, the UCalgary Alumni Association has decided to put extra muscle behind the words “rethink,” “reset” and “rebound.” Instead of cancelling or postponing our sixth annual Alumni Weekend celebrations, we are doing just the reverse by expanding our offerings — resulting in an ambitious smorgasbord of free live and recorded programs or Zoom gatherings.

Best of all, this menu of virtual tours, practical webinars and mind-growing panel discussions won’t be crammed into one weekend, but will span a full month, running throughout September.

With more than 25 virtual programs on the roster, you’ll also find we’ve partnered with some key community leaders — including Calgary Pride, the Calgary International Film Festival and CJSW — providing alumni and friends with exclusive opportunities and some dreamy deals throughout September.

There’s more to explore

Those who cherish tradition and wish to celebrate excellence can tune into the annual Arch Awards celebration on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m., where we will toast this year’s six remarkable alumni in an inspirational virtual program. Several of those recipients, such as Andrew Pearce, BSc’84, MSc’88, from DreamWorks Animation (yes, that DreamWorks) and songwriter-turned-high-tech entrepreneur Daria Venkova, BSc’18, MBT’19, will host experiential Zoom talks later in the month.

As always, we’ll feature numerous notable speakers such as alumnus, author and powerhouse Eric Termuende, BComm’14, who will dive into how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted company cultures and how best to thrive in a world that has never been less certain. Termuende’s interactive talk, The Great Comeback, runs Sept. 15 at 11 a.m.

Also on the books is a multidisciplinary panel about global clean-water initiatives that includes two other Arch Awards recipients from this year —  Dr. Ahmad Munawwar Helmi bin Salim, MD’10, and Dr. Abdullah Saleh, BSc’05, MD, as well as other heavy-hitters from the Cumming School of Medicine and the Faculty of Science.

Provocative and timely is exactly what the Faculty of Kinesiology’s new two-part series, called Diversity & Inclusion in Sport, will deliver when it explores anti-Black racism in sport on Sept. 15 and Indigenous inclusivity within athletics on Sept. 29.

You can also take part in a high-octane virtual session with an Olympic Oval coach in Workout Like an Olympian at noon on Sept. 24. For pure fun, kinesiology is also running a bizarro trivia game (with a surprise celebrity appearance), to be played on the Dinos app and Facebook Live on Sept. 29 at noon.

Always worth your time are programs from the Cumming School of Medicine, where this year’s special Dig In! event will examine clean-water initiatives around the world as well as a session involving several entrepreneurs who have recently commercialized their innovations (Sept. 25 at 2 p.m.). And don't forget the UCalgary Alumni Association’s AGM on Sept. 14 that starts at 6 p.m.

There’s more to discover

With K-12 students returning to class in September (barring any unexpected change of direction from the province), the Werklund School of Education has pulled out all the stops and has designed several timely and supportive programs aimed at parents and teachers, from the implications of learning in a digital age (Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.) to nurturing resilience (Sept. 28).

And Alumni Month just wouldn’t be the same without the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine jumping on board to offer a new COVID-19 & Animals Zoom discussion on Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. As well, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Social Work have teamed up to co-host a panel discussion about what is needed, truly needed, to create lasting change

An unusual program in this year’s expanded menu is The School of Public Policy’s webinar and cooking demo — a probe into our food-supply chain and what curious minds can glean from the pandemic — called From Farm to Table: the Culinary Connection, again via Zoom (Sept. 23 at 4 p.m.)

Finally, when you think of heroic acts that have occurred during COVID-19, certainly the critical role that nurses have played is front and centre, which is precisely why we’re thrilled to highlight Finding Florence on the month’s agenda that includes a virtual tour of the Faculty of Nursing’s newly renovated space on campus, as well as a scavenger hunt (Sept. 29 at 10 a.m.).

For more insight into Alumni Month, visit this detailed calendar where you can register for any or all programs and events.