Images of Togetherness Win the 2021 Holiday Card Contest

Two men in purple and yellow shirts patterned with snowflakes stand on either side of three easels holding large images of winter holiday cards
President Rodríguez and Michael Christakis, vice president for student affairs, display the three winning holiday card designs. (Photo by Brian Busher)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 14, 2021) — A math major from Kingston is this year’s winner of the Holiday Card Contest. Morseda Akter won a $1,000 scholarship with her design of friends taking a selfie together on the Podium.

Akter and the two finalists were announced on Friday, when the annual event returned to an in-person gathering at the Campus Center, complete with snacks and a hot cocoa station. President Rodríguez and Michael Christakis, vice president for student affairs, hosted the event, which included caroling by the student a cappella group Pitch Please.

Akter, who is graduating at the end of this semester, said her winning design was inspired “by the way people reunited with their friends and loved ones when we all found out that we can be back on campus. Quarantine was tough and we all struggled and missed each other so much. I came up with the idea when I asked myself, what do most people do when they haven't been in contact with their friends in a long time? Camera flashes popped into my head.”

Akter’s design will be used on the University’s holiday greeting this season.

Juliana Haliti took second place and a $650 scholarship with her design of Minerva and Damien the great Dane together in the snow. Haliti, a graduate art student who expects to finish her MFA at the end of this academic year, was the contest winner in 2019.

“I was inspired to create the work after thinking about the relationship Minerva may have with our beloved mascot,” she said. “I love the idea of the two of them kind of watching over all of us at the University and sharing a peaceful winter moment together, kind of being appreciative they have each other and proud to be our guardians of sorts.”

Third place and a $350 scholarship went to Aneesha Baloch, a senior psychology major with a minor in English, who drew three friends in facemasks wrapped together in a purple-and-yellow scarf.

“I wanted to hone in on the aspect of being together again,” she explained. “I decided to draw a trio of friends representing the diverse students within the college. I added the facemasks because, while we are together again, we still have a duty to keep our community safe and show solidarity against the current virus we are facing.”

This is the fourth year of the Holiday Card Contest, which President Rodríguez began in 2018 to showcase the creativity and artistic talent of UAlbany students.