Alumni Association donates to student groups, campus projects

Members of the UAF Alumni Association board visit the Wild Blueberry and Troth Blossoms barn quilt on display at the Fairbanks Experimental Farm.
Photo by Theresa Bakker
Members of the UAF Alumni Association board visit the Wild Blueberry and Troth Blossoms barn quilt on display at the Fairbanks Experimental Farm.

The UAF Alumni Association has awarded $20,000 to support student organizations and campus projects. A $10,000 gift went to the Georgeson Botanical Garden, and a variety of student groups received another $10,000.

Garden manager Katie DiCristina said the gift will support the Harvest Project Collaborative and Far North Quilt Trail Project at the GBG and Fairbanks Experiment Farm. The funds support the programs efforts in linking food systems awareness, food production and public art in the campus community.

The gift from the alumni association will help purchase tools, materials and supplies to establish more garden beds and infrastructure in the new student learning garden, where students will learn to grow produce for themselves as well as food distribution centers in Fairbanks. The gift also provides an artist stipend to Somer Hahm ‘08 for creation of a public artwork at the farm.

“The UAF Alumni Association is making a critical contribution to not only cultivating vegetables, but also to cultivating a new generation of positive change-makers in our community,” DiCristina said. “They are also sending a message that UAF values the role that public art plays on the Troth Yeddha' campus. We are immensely grateful for and humbled by their support.”

In addition to the gift supporting the garden, the alumni association board of directors approved gifts of up to $1,000 to eleven different student organizations. Many of the awards will support creative expression, such as the beading club, the student ceramics art guild and two dance groups.

The alumni association is funding a request from the campus chapter of the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME). President Jensen Zadra said the funds will provide musical instruments so UAF students in pursuit of music degrees have access to the tools necessary for becoming a fully prepared music teacher.

“The music department often leads fundraising projects for short repairs and small events to spread awareness,” Jensen said. “Due to the high pricing of reliable instruments, we rely on grants and donations for the more expensive projects, in this case, purchasing instruments. Without this support, the department would need to forgo basic repairs in order to save for new instruments.”

In addition, UAFAA has awarded $1,000 to Rural Student Services to support the new academic coach position created through the Alaska Native Success Initiative (ANSI) with the goal of providing additional wrap-around services to more than 400 Alaska Native and rural students attending the UAF Troth Yeddha' Campus. The funds will be used to provide resources for the Positive Connection Night.

This small-grant program has been in process since the UAFAA Benefactor Fund was established in 1998. So far in this fiscal year, UAF alumni and others have donated more than $10,000 to the fund.