Ed: Karla Stevenson Mastracchio is co-chair of the 2019 Green and Gold Gala, a USF grad who has been an adjunct professor at her alma mater, the Palma Ceia Princess herself, and one of our favorites.
A few months ago I met up with a former co-worker and friend who’s also a retired Admiral. I always try to link up with him whenever we are in the same place. He has great stories. I don’t know how it came up but we started talking about college friends. “Those are the people who know your heart,” he said. “Those are the people who know you and know all the stupid things you said and did and they’ll still like you. You’ll always be 21 with them even if you’re 90, and you’ll never feel more like yourself.” That was deep. Deep, but true AF.
Lately, I’ve had to think a lot about college and the friends I made along the way. As a member of the USF Alumni Association Board of Directors, I was asked to co-chair the 2019 Green and Gold Gala and throw a party for hundreds of alumni at the biggest cocktail party Downtown Tampa has ever seen. Oh yeah, and, it’s at the Florida Aquarium for the first time ever. Umm, yeah, no pressure! This event, formerly known as Brahman Bash, is a game changer for our local alumni community.
Aside from giving me the chance to throw one hell of a cocktail party in what’s got to be the largest fish tank in Florida, the Green and Gold Gala is something our alumni community needs now more than ever. 2019 will be a transformational year for USF, and it’s because of our alumni. Yes, USF is a very ambitious and extremely successful institution (what’s up preeminence!), but equally important is the conscious choice to celebrate traditions and collectively express celebrate the collegiate friendships and experiences that have enabled us to become the best versions of ourselves. That, and it’s a fabulous occasion to party with the people who make us feel like we’re 21 even when we’re, ahem, slightly older.
Our committee has been working really hard and we are really excited about all the fun things we have to offer party goers. We really tried to offer a diverse range of music, drinks and experiences. For a band, we booked The Black Honkeys and DJ by CJ on the main stage. For those who want a softer, cooler vibe we created a lounge with a soulful acoustic singer. We have several open bar stations serving beer and wine and two kinds of signature drinks: a vodka based cocktail that’s green and comes with its own green glow cube and a margarita that’s gold and, you guessed it, comes with a gold glow cube! We call it the Green or Gold Challenge! Pick a team or try one of both! It’s literally your party!
If the signature drinks don’t do it for you, we have a frozen cocktail bar serving BuzzPop cocktails on a stick. These are the same alcoholic popsicles they serve at Disney and they come in great flavors like moscow mule, blueberry sorbet and chocolate bourbon.
At our silent auction there will be everything from 7-day cruises and Hamilton tickets to USF sports and Tampa Bay Lightning packages. If travel or sports experiences aren’t your thing, we will also be featuring....drumroll please...a rescue puppy and kitten for auction! Yep. You can dance to the Honkeys, enjoy a martini on a stick, AND go home with a new furry family member all in one night.
And if none of the above makes you want to check it out, did I mention the penguins? Thanks to a generous donation from Carrabba’s, we will have live penguins that will mix and mingle with party guests. A chance to take a selfie with a penguin is amazing, but supporting your university is priceless.
I am honored to be the 2019 co-chair for this event and even more honored I was invited to write about it here. This February, I hope to see you at this year’s Green and Gold Gala and toast to many more years of friendships and fun.
Saturday February 23, 2019 at The Florida Aquarium. Doors open at 7pm. Penguins arriving shortly thereafter.
Tickets are $70 for young alumni; $85 for Association Members; $90 for Non-Members/Friends
Attire: Cocktail with a Touch of Green and Gold.