Even now, as the University Studies Abroad Consortium nears its 30th anniversary on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, longtime director Carmelo Urza has to shake his head and smile at how quickly the time has flown.
"In some ways, it really does seem like yesterday," Urza said.
With a budget of about $30,000 in 1982, Urza's job was to grow an embryonic program so that perhaps, one day, it might stretch beyond its initial roots that had reached into the Basque country of Spain.
Urza, with a Basque government grant, had earlier in the summer of 1982 attended a congress in San Sebastian, Spain. The first day of his contract at the University was Sept. 1, 1982.
Where to next?
As it has turned out, the answer has been ... everywhere. All over the globe.
Today, the highly successful student and faculty studies abroad enrichment opportunity where participants learn language and history and immerse themselves in foreign culture on international university campuses, has more than 40 programs in 26 countries.
To commemorate its 30th anniversary, USAC, which has touched the lives of thousands of University alumni and current students, is launching a photo contest among University/USAC alumni. Photos submitted should capture the unique essence of experiencing another country and another culture.
For Urza, the contest is a natural offshoot of what the program does so well. When students return from their summer, semester or year-long visits to foreign lands, he said, they invariably share the experience with their families, with their friends and fellow students, through words and photos.
"It's always been about students telling their own story once they return," Urza said. "And that's what we want the contest to capture. There are a lot of memories of USAC out there."
In order to be considered, individuals must be a USAC alum and either be attending the University of Nevada, Reno or have graduated from the University.
Submit high-resolution digital photos no later than Sept. 28 to firstname.lastname@example.org with "USAC/UNR contest" in the subject line. Include name/contact information, who took the photo, the year it was taken, where it was taken, who is in the photo if appropriate, and a description of the photo. If submitting more than one photo, submit one per email.
Photos will be reviewed and awarded by Oct. 5. Prizes include first place, Kindle Fire; second place, iPod Nano; third place, USAC swag.
(Editor's note: USAC Marketing and University Relations Director Kelly Corrigan also contributed information to this feature story.)