Oct. 4-11, UAB “Blazer Strong” Homecoming 2015: Gurney Derby, Hoops on the Haasephalt, parade

This year, Homecoming’s featured event is Hoops on the Haasephalt, featuring introductions of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, a 3-point shootout and dunk contest, announcement of the Mr. and Ms. UAB Scholarship Competition winners, and a fireworks show.

laverne coxLaverne CoxThe University of Alabama at Birmingham will celebrate Homecoming 2015 from Oct. 4-11, with the theme “Blazer Strong – Go UAB. Go Blazers. Go Birmingham.”

UAB’s traditional festivities include the Building Decoration Competition at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, the famed Gurney Derby Race at noon Wednesday, Oct. 7, and Hoops on the Haasephalt at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, culminating with the Homecoming Parade at noon Friday, Oct. 9. Actress Laverne Cox is set for a free lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6.

This year, Homecoming’s featured event is Hoops on the Haasephalt. Set for 7 p.m., Hoops on the Haasephalt is a tradition started by UAB Men’s Basketball Coach Jerod Haase. This is the fourth edition of the outdoor, one-of-a-kind event, which will start the 2015-16 seasons for the UAB basketball teams. The Blazers will erect an outdoor basketball court at the Campus Green, adjacent to the UAB Recreation Center off University Boulevard.

“Hoops on the Haasephalt has been a great event for our programs and has been an exciting way to tip off our seasons for our fans,” said Haase. “Our fans have shown up in full force the past three years, and we know they will once again enjoy this year’s event.”

Among the featured events scheduled for Hoops on the Haasephalt will be introductions of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, a 3-point shootout and dunk contest, as well as a fireworks show.

The winners of the 34th annual Mr. and Ms. UAB Scholarship Competition will be announced at Hoops on the Haasephalt. Sponsored by the UAB National Alumni Society, this tradition recognizes outstanding male and female students on campus who have demonstrated scholastic achievement, leadership, campus and community involvement, and overall enthusiasm for UAB. Each winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship and serve as an ambassador of UAB in the coming year. The first alternates will receive $1,000 scholarships. Finalists are selected through two rounds of interviews and a student vote held during Homecoming Week. Mr. and Ms. UAB Scholarship Competition applications are available online.

hc posterClick to enlargeOn Tuesday, Oct. 6, actress and transgender rights advocate Laverne Cox will speak at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. Cox will present her topic, “Ain’t I a Woman?” Cox is the first trans-woman to produce and star in her own television show, “TRANSform Me,” appear on the cover of Time magazine, and be nominated for an Emmy award. She is also the first trans-woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show, “Orange is the New Black.” She was Emmy- nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her acclaimed portrayal of character Sophia Burset on the series. The lecture is free and open to the public. The Lecture Series Committee and UAB Student Involvement and Leadership are sponsors.

The Gurney Derby is one of the most popular UAB Homecoming Week traditions. Teams of four, two men and two women, race down and back on a stretch of 13th Street South while pushing a “passenger” on old hospital gurneys. Awards are handed out to the first- and second-place teams, best-dressed gurney, most creative passenger, and the team that comes in “dead last.” The race is open to teams from all groups, divisions and organizations across campus.

The Homecoming Parade features colorful floats that incorporate the theme. Sponsored by the UAB National Alumni Society, University Programs Board, and UAB Student Involvement and Leadership, the parade’s floats are judged on appearance, creativity, effort, participation and utilization of the Homecoming theme. Awards include most creative float design, best use of Homecoming theme and best display of Blazer spirit.

Beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 9, before the parade, the UAB Department of Occupational Health and Safety will host a Health and Safety Fair on the Campus Green with free food and drinks, music, giveaways and displays. At 1 p.m., after the parade, officials will give a fire safety demonstration by burning full-scale, furnished models of residence hall rooms, one with a sprinkler system like all of UAB’s residence halls, and one without a system. The eye-opening demonstration shows how quickly a fire can consume a room without sprinklers.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 9, see the UAB Women’s Soccer team play Marshall University at West Campus Fields. At 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, UAB Men’s Soccer will play Florida International University at West Campus Fields. At 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, UAB Women’s Soccer will play Western Kentucky University. UAB Athletics sponsors all three games.