UVM Foundation kicks off “Epic Event Challenge”

Stephan Toljan/Vermont Cynic

Lilly Page, Cynic News Reporter

A project aimed to connect current UVM students and alumni that has been 15 years in the making is kicking off this February. 

The UVM Alumni Association is accepting submissions for its UVM Epic Event Challenge throughout the month. 

“I think its a bridge. I think that what we’ve wanted, is an event where all alumni of all generations want to come back to [the event]” said Professor Paula Cope, who teaches at the Grossman School of Business and helped to form the idea. 

The event will then be held annually on Alumni Weekend, starting in October 2021. 

“You have the chance to change UVM history or create UVM history” Cope said. 

Ahmadi had been talking with UVM alumni about having an event that would connect UVM students and alumni, but had no structure to how to come up with ideas, he said. 

“If there was a consistent thread, it’s that there was no singular signature event at UVM that connected all of the generations or all of the alumns to the students or to staff, faculty” he said. “Everyone was split in what they viewed as a tradition here at UVM.”

However, Ahmadi didn’t know how to get ideas for the event. At an alumni event, he connected with Cope, who said that she had an idea for a contest to get ideas. 

That idea came from overseeing case competitions, where students are tasked with fixing a problem and presenting those solutions to a group of judges. 

The timeline for the challenge takes place between February and October of this year: for the entire month of February, the UVM community can submit their ideas in written or video format. 

Their ideas must contain the name of their event, an explanation, and a description of why the event would appeal to all members of the UVM community, and why both future and current alumni would want to return to campus for the event, according to the Epic Event Challenge website. 

The deadline to submit ideas is February 29th. After that date, a screening committee will review the ideas and select three finalists. 

The four finalists will then work with a team to pitch their ideas again to new judges, and the winner will be picked. 

The winner of the competition wins $2,500. 

That money is taken from the Alumni Association budget. 

“The Alumni Association and the UVM Foundation have been very supportive of this venture, and believe it is important enough to incur the expense to help identify our next great annual signature event,” Ahmadi said. 

To help get the gears turning for ideas, senior Hannah Rameaka, president of the Student Alumni Association, encourages current students to think about what they enjoy and what they would want to come back to, she said.  

“How can you enhance something that you already enjoy so that it brings alumni back?” she said.