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This is Timothy. He will see you at Fri. and Sat.'s kickoff.
Katy Anderson/the Gauntlet

Kickoff to the new year

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For the second year in a row, the University of Calgary will kickoff the year with a big party.

Presented by the university in tandem with the Alumni Association and the Students' Union, the expanded Kickoff event takes place over two days and features a pep-rally, tailgate party, concert and Dinos football home opener.

"This year it is a campus-wide initiative," said U of C external relations associate director Shauna Coffyne. "Last year it was part of the 40th anniversary, but after the success of last year the SU, the Alumni Association and five different university partners came on board with the budget and manpower to make it happen."

The festivities begin Fri., Sep. 6 at 3 p.m. on the south lawn of MacEwan Student Centre with a pep rally and barbeque hosted by the SU. Following the pep rally is a concert, featuring music from local lads Hot Little Rocket and Montreal's Sam Roberts, as well as a draw for a free semester of tuition.

Sat., Sep. 7 will begin with a tailgate party and another barbeque at McMahon Stadium, with the first 2,500 attending to receive free Spolumbo's sausages. The Dinos football team hosts the University of Saskatchewan Huskies at 1 p.m. The game will also serve as an opportunity for free tuition. Both days' tuition prizes are sponsored by the Alumni Association.

Despite being slightly larger in scope, the price tag for the second Kickoff event has actually shrunk from that of the inaugural edition. Last year's event cost $130,000 and this year's Kickoff will cost $110,000--$70,000 from the university, $20,000 from the Alumni Association and $20,000 from the SU.

Last year's festivities, held entirely at McMahon Stadium, were attended by approximately 7,000 students and community members. The expansion of this year's event has raised attendance expectations slightly.

"We have similar hopes for this year, but of course it's over two days," said Coffyne. "I think we're expecting a little bit less [each day,] but more overall."

The return of Kickoff is to aimed not only get students excited about the upcoming year, but also to put the spotlight on the university's sports teams. Coffyne noted the event is part of a year-long strategy aimed to get more students to attend Dinos games.

"We've put a lot of focus on the first game, but we really hope to carry it throughout the year." Coffyne said. "The first 4,000 students who attend on Friday will be getting a red shirt and we'll be asking people to wear their red shirts on Fridays to support the Dinos throughout the year, because usually the varsity games are on the weekends."

Tickets for Friday's concert are free and available at uofckickoff.com along with a ballot for that day's tuition draw. Tickets for Saturday's football game will be available at the gate. Students are admitted for free and $1 of the $5 admission for staff, faculty and alumni will go towards a Kickoff scholarship.

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