Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Winter Activities in Fairbanks

By Maura Sullivan


If you haven’t lived in Fairbanks all your life, or are a “Sourdough” as they are called, you might be looking at these increasingly colder temperatures and wondering what in the world people do up here during the winter. We are currently averaging about four hours of daylight, which doesn’t leave much time to enjoy the outdoors if you have a busy class schedule. Here are some things that you can do if you’re staying in Fairbanks over winter break!

See the Northern Lights! If you haven’t already, go out for a walk on a cold, clear night with a few friends, a thick coat and a thermos of hot chocolate! Seeing the Aurora Borealis is one of the most worthwhile reasons of living in Alaska, and if you see a color other than green, it is one of the best experiences one can have. The NOAA website has a really great Aurora forecast, that updates about every 30 minutes of so.


Get a great workout and enjoy some cross country skiing at Birch Hill! Located on Wilderness Drive, the area offers extensive and challenging cross country ski trails for use.


If you prefer downhill skiing and snowboarding, you can “shred some pow” at the Moose Mountain Ski Resort. Birch Hill is open Monday through Sunday, and Moose Mountain is open November through February.

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Since you are UAF students, you have free entry to the Museum of the North, that really cool iceberg looking building on campus, past the Reichhardt building. While there you can enjoy a cup of coffee from ACRC while looking out the window at the beautiful Brooks Range. You can also check out the various exhibits in the museum, including the new dinosaur exhibit, the Aurora Room, the Gallery of Alaska, and the Rose Berry Alaska Art Gallery. You can also get a wonderful Alaskan-made souvenir from the gift shop, and watch the 30 minute movies that all about the geographic and historical aspects of Alaska. On December 31st from 7-9pm you can watch the fireworks at West Ridge, and enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies in the museum.


Take a drive or cab ride out to Chena Hot Springs. This may be a little pricy, but in the winter, it is one of the best places to enjoy the Northern Lights and get a wonderful soak in the natural hot springs. They’re open everyday from 7am till midnight. You can also book massage appointments, eat at the restaurant and visit the bar if you’re 21. You can also visit the Ice Museum, which features amazing ice sculptures in the constant 25 ˚F. Perks for those who are 21, you can drink a martini made out of a glass carved from ice!



Visit LARS, the large animal research station. Located off of Ballaine road, near the University, you can see muskox and reindeer, as well as some of their cute calves!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Fall 2015 Flag Dedication Ceremony Highlights

By Maura Sullivan


The UAF Flag dedication ceremony has been a tradition at the Fairbanks campus for many years, and promotes diversity and international connections. The flags that hang in the Wood Center show the diversity of the student body at UAF. For each international student or exchange student, a flag is hung to represent their home country. On November 20th, we heard from four speakers; the Director of the International Programs, Donna Anger , the ISO president and two of our international students. Our two students that spoke for their flag dedication were from Denmark and Jordan.

The Danish student, Peter Ladefoged, told the story of how the Danish flag came to be what it is today. The most popular legend is that on the field of battle with Estonians in 1219, the Danish were losing, but after praying to God, a flag fell from the sky and the Danes went on to win the battle. The flag is called the Dannebrog, and is the oldest continuously used national flag in the world.


The white cross represents Christianity, and the red stands for the battle and bloodshed where it appeared.

The second student we heard from is Ala’a Mutawe, a degree seeking student from Jordan. She presented a slideshow about the beautiful sites of her home country, and gave us a wonderful introduction to her culture. She was wearing her traditional Jordanian dress, that had the most amazingly intricate beading. She explained that though they have a similar style dress in other Middle Eastern Countries, you could tell the difference by the pattern of the beading. She also served some delicious black spiced coffee that had cardamom in it, which is one of the essential spices for Jordanian cooking. The black, red and white bands represent the three caliphs: Abbasid, Umayyad and Fatimid. The red chevron is for the Hashemite dynasty, and the seven pointed star signifies the unity of the Arab people and seven verses for the first surah in the Qur’an.


The third flag to be dedicated was the flag from Greenland, but unfortunately the student was not able to make it. The local name in the Greenlandic language is Erfalasorput, which means ‘our flag’, and has been used as the national flag for 20 years. It is the only Nordic country to not use a cross on their flag. Because Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, they use red and white of the Danish flag. The colors represent the white of the snow and the red of the sun. The circle in the middle represents the rising and setting sun.


Here are some pictures taken at the event: 
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UAF's International Student Organization (ISO) leading the ceremony.

Danish exchange student Peter Ladefoged speaking about his flag.

Jordanian student Ala'a Mutawe, dressed in a traditional Jordanian dress, speaks about her flag.