#UABack2School Bucket List

Aug. 27, 2015

When students choose the University of Arizona, they also are selecting a city and region nationally and internationally known for its history, architecture, culture and climate.

University students have relatively easy access to mountain regions with hugely diverse ecosystems, a vibrant arts community and historic, and world-famous sites such as San Xavier del Bac and the UA-run Biosphere 2, the world's largest watershed. Tucson hosts major events such as Tucson Meet Yourself, a decades-old staple and celebration of diversity, and also the annual Tucson Festival of Books, one of the largest book festivals in the nation. Also, the region is the birthplace of the famed Sonoran hot dog.

We consulted with several students and employees for their "bucket list" suggestions for new students:

"I would recommend everyone to get a ZonaZoo pass and support all of our athletic teams here at Arizona, especially the awesome volleyball team." — Penina Snuka, a member of the UA volleyball team

"Visit Kartchner Caverns, hike in the Chiricahua Mountains, do a day trip to Nogales and do a culinary tour of South Tucson and South 12th Avenue." — Javier Durán, director of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry

"Take advantage of close proximity to beautiful camping and hiking locations. These are also great locations for stargazing and watching meteor showers. Cochise Stronghold (southeast of Tucson) is currently one of my favorite spots. Also, attend the Pascua Yaqui Easter Ceremonies. Visitors are welcome to attend and observe the cultural practices of the Yaqui community. These ceremonies take place in different locations and on different days." — Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu, doctoral student in American Indian Studies

"The places that I think are a must-see in Tucson during the first year are: Sabino Canyon, a restful escape, especially during finals. It is a great place to see the local flora and fauna and maybe even a snake or two. Mount Lemmon is just a one-hour drive from Tucson but feels like going to Canada as you see the different climate zones on the way up the mountain in such a contrast to the desert floor. A basketball game at McKale Center can be the best two hours of your life — fun, exciting and like nothing you've ever experienced before." — Melinda Burke, UA Alumni Association president

"Attending a football and a basketball game and sitting in the ZonaZoo is definitely something that every freshman should put on their bucket list. The crazy, loud, energetic environment is something everyone should experience here at the UA. There is nothing like cheering on Arizona sports teams as a member of the best student section in the country." — Kayla Beck, student and marketing director for the ZonaZoo

Photo: Norma Jean Gargasz/UANews

"Explore Tucson — there are many hidden gems. Get involved with a club, student government or whatever interests you, and if there is no club that interests you, create your own. Join Greek life — there is a house for everyone. And in March, go to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 basketball tournament. Arizona takes over Vegas for the whole weekend, and everyone is an Arizona fan." — UA alumnus Ben Berger, who earned a degree in religious studies