Campus was bustling and lively on Saturday, Nov. 16 as alumni, students and families gathered around the Bell Tower to celebrate the 12th annual Highlander Scot Fest celebration. Hosted by the UCR Alumni Association (UCRAA), Scot Fest is UCR’s yearly homecoming celebration, open for all alumni, students and the local community to enjoy. 

Attendees were given a free shirt and a stamp sheet after checking in for the event. The stamp sheet could be filled by visiting the Fest’s various booths. You could stop by tables and learn about student organizations or play fun carnival games. Once completed, participants would be made eligible for a range of prizes from GoPros to a specialty basket full of goodies.

At one booth visitors could get themselves caricatured and many families lined up to get their enlarged faces on paper. Children walked out from the same tent with balloon animals and their face painted. I brought my younger siblings to the event and had a very good time bonding with them. They especially enjoyed playing on Melt-Down, an attraction that can knock you down before your very eyes. 

It was a hot day, and water stations were spread around the venue for guests. Attendees could cool down by riding the zip line, or enjoy a relaxing swing ride in the air. If they had the energy for it, they could also jump around in a bounce house. 

At the base of the Bell Tower played the Fest’s live band, dressed in 80s garb and covering classics like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” as well as The Village People’s “YMCA,” the latter of which people of all ages danced along to, adding to the already lively atmosphere.

Many campus organizations were set up on the sides of the concrete paths, reaching out for new members. Wendy Antonio Ramirez, a third-year double major in psychology and education tabled for Mujeres Unidas. Mujeres Unidas is a non-profit organization established at UCR that promotes inclusivity and social awareness for all their members. They offer scholarships for their members as a way of giving back all their hard work. 

Ramirez, who attended Scot Fest during her first year, cited her enjoyment then as a reason to come out and table for her organization. “A lot of us were able to not only table, but also enjoy the festivities,” said Ramirez. 

In addition to students tabling, UCPD had a booth of their own where they handed out foam Scotty paws, stress balls and much more. “I’ve watched (Scot Fest) grow over the last three years I’ve done it,” said Detective Brandon Anderson. 

Scot Fest was an event full of opportunities for students to interact with alumni and for alumni to be reminded of their time at UCR. Aramis Spann, class of ‘15, volunteered for the event and had done so in the past as a student six years prior. “It brings back a lot of good memories,” said Spann who plans on attending the event next year as well.