Forever Green and Gold

It's a special time of year—of excitement and expectancy—for the U of A's students, faculty, staff and alumni.


(Edmonton) When the prairie green turns to harvest gold, there’s a special feeling of excitement, of expectancy, at the University of Alberta.

New and returning students feel it. So do our faculty, staff and alumni the world over. As Henry Marshall Tory once put it, “There is wine in the air … great things are about to happen … again.”

The U of A’s first president uttered those words more than a century ago, yet they’ve never been more relevant to a university that serves the public good by transforming students into creative, daring community leaders, by serving as an engine for research innovation and by fuelling economic prosperity in Alberta and beyond.

Great things are about to begin for the U of A’s 39,300 students, many arriving on campus for the first time. Fully appreciating the U of A experience often starts with the annual student orientation, Welcome to U and Week of Welcome, which provide opportunities to get familiar with campus life, landmarks, history and the many student services and clubs.

Back to school highlights

  • BaseCamp, Aug. 25–30
  • Transitions Orientation (international students), Aug. 27–29
  • Day of Service, Aug. 29
  • Orientation, Sept. 1–2
  • Welcome to U, Sept. 2–3
  • Week of Welcome, Sept. 3–6
  • Golden Bears football home opener, Sept. 13
  • Green and Gold Day, Sept. 19
  • Alumni Weekend, Sept. 18–21

International students adjusting to life in Canada get a head start through the Transitions Orientation. BaseCamp helps students get acquainted with residence living, and other services can be found on our Current Students page.

The U of A’s official green and gold colours are a tradition that dates back almost nine decades to when Marion Kirby Alexander, the wife of classics professor William Hardy Alexander, suggested the pairing, inspired by the autumn colours of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. Today, we honour Alexander’s choice on Green and Gold Day, Sept. 19, an annual celebration in which our community—near and far—proudly wears the colours.

Green and gold gets in your face Sept. 13 when a stadium of Golden Bears fans cheer on the football team during the home opener against the USask Huskies. The spectacle sets the stage for another year of athletic prowess from Golden Bears and Pandas teams, across 17 sports.

BaseCamp Day of Service is a time for students in residence and alumni to get to know each other and Edmonton, and give back through community-minded events and activities, from cleaning up the river valley to volunteering with seniors and at a social care agency, to learning about sustainability at the Prairie Urban Farm. The day features a free barbecue and music in the Quad.

This is also a season to celebrate excellence, as the U of A honours its best and brightest faculty and staff who’ve been instrumental in equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Celebrate! Teaching. Learning. Research. is the university’s way of honouring the outstanding achievements of faculty members who bring their research to life in the classroom, undergraduate and graduate students who distinguish themselves academically and in the community, and staff who provide valuable support.

The U of A experience extends far beyond life studying on campus. More than 260,000 alumni around the world embody our green and gold spirit—a global family solving important challenges and working for the greater good. We celebrate this spirit every year during Alumni Weekend, through a host of reunions, special lectures and events, including the Alumni Recognition Awards.

There’s a lot to be proud about, and if you’re part of the U of A community you feel it, no matter where you live.

“We will fight for thee and cheer and ever hold thine honour dear. Our alma mater U of A.”