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UHD Alumni Association Hosts Another Festive Jingle Mingle in 2023

Holiday Hat Steals the Show


By Laura Wagner

The University of Houston-Downtown Alumni Association hosted its annual Jingle Mingle Mixer on Dec. 7 at the UHD Wellness & Success Center, where UHD alums and soon-to-be alums were invited to wear gaudy holiday sweaters to compete in the Ugliest Sweater Contest. 

Danielle Soria-Orozco (’06), Director of Alumni Relations, welcomed more than 100 guests to the event. “This gathering was not just a party; it was a vibrant proclamation of Gator grit, unity, resilience, and the boundless potential that lies ahead for our alumni as well as our students,” Soria-Orozco said.IMG_0070

Organized by the Office of Alumni Relations with help from UHD’s Advancement & University Relations and Special Events teams, the sixth edition of the event offered bites, beverages, and party tunes as well as the sweater competition. A jam session from the UHD staff band, Admission Possible, started the evening off, with alums Spencer Lightsy on bass and Chris “Blu Hat” Bell on vocals. Band Valen & Firu took over for the remainder of the evening, creating a musical backdrop for the fun. 

A few soon-to-be alums attended the event as well. “We started the tradition last year of toasting anyone at the party who’s graduating in the December Commencement,” Soria-Orozco explained. “It’s a fun way to welcome them into the Alumni Association.” 

The pièce-de-résistance came at 7:30 p.m. as contestants in the Ugly Sweater Contest sashayed past the crowd, showing off their jumpers, cardigans, and pullovers. One alum, Estela Serna (B.S. Professional Writing ’07; M.S. Technical Communication ’22), topped all previous levels of kitsch with a Christmas-tree-themed hat worthy of Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte (see photo). The question had to be asked: Might next year include a category for ugliest headgear? Soria-Orozco’s not telling. 

After the last threads were paraded, attendees cast their votes, and contestants waited hopefully while the ballots were counted. And the winners were …

First Place - Radharani Raval (B.S. ’15)

Second Place - Alex Carmelo

Third Place - Juan Moreno (B.S. ’16)


Photo credit: Gabriela Perez and Roselani Suwon