- Published on Monday, 11 June 2012 22:50
By Daniel Perez
UTEP News Service
How better to bring the family together than a traditional summer picnic. When it comes to The University of Texas at El Paso alumni family, make that scores of picnics scattered across the country with a guest list that numbers in the thousands.
Members of the UTEP Alumni Association, organizers of the first national UTEP Alumni “Pick-Nic” on July 14, hope that many former students and their families will attend one of the many events planned from coast to coast and border to border.
In early June, volunteers in 20 communities around the U.S. had begun to plan events to bring UTEP alumni together. The goal is to create a framework and build on it so the annual picnics scheduled for the second Saturday of July will become popular “can’t miss” events.
Among those who have volunteered to lead a picnic is Alex Muñoz, a 2011 graduate who is an investment banking analyst with JP Morgan Chase in New York. He said the initial plan is to celebrate with pizza in the Sheep Meadows section of Central Park.
“I have a deep appreciation and passion for my University,” he said. “UTEP has grown tremendously and I’m sure that alumni will be excited to learn and share all that is happening at UTEP.”
Muñoz, who served as president of the Student Government Association in 2009-10, said he continues to receive feedback from some of the 620-plus UTEP alumni in the New York area who are excited about the picnic. He said he looks forward to a great turnout.
Picnic leaders will get a UTEP cooler filled with picnic supplies such as cups, drink cozies, a tablecloth, and plates, napkins and plastic cutlery in orange and blue. The kits also will include a flying disc and beach ball for entertainment, as well as an alumni banner, nametags and UTEP tattoos.
The UTEP Alumni Association will reimburse hosts for the price of the hamburgers and hot dogs (and will consider other options such as in the case of the New York pizza party). Participants are asked to bring associated items such as buns, condiments, salads, drinks and desserts.
The association is asking Pick-Nic goers to email photos from their activities to be posted on the event’s website.
“Wherever you are, we will help you. The picnic can be as elaborate as you want to make it,” said Elizabeth Claudio, coordinator for membership and marketing. “We just want people to show up and enjoy themselves. Our goal is to increase the collegiality of the Miner family.”
Prospective picnic hosts should contact the Alumni Association as soon as possible. The only criterion is to be an alumnus who wants to be part of something special. Once approved, the volunteer’s name and contact information will be posted on the association’s picnic web site. Others can then visit the site, input their location and find the closest party in their area.
Richard Daniel, Ph.D., associate vice president for university advancement and special projects, emphasized that he is just as interested in small picnics as the larger ones because they help build the alumni network. He also stressed that “Pick-Nic” hosts are not obligated to remain in charge for future events. He added that one of his hopes is that the event generates the kind of enthusiasm that could lead to additional alumni chapters around the country.
“We have two years to mobilize our alumni outside El Paso,” Daniel said. “We want to get the Miner Nation as involved as possible as we prepare for UTEP’s upcoming Centennial Celebration in 2014.”