The annual celebration known as Starvation Gulch started in 1923 with a little help from Charles Bunnell, the first University of Alaska Fairbanks president. Students built a mock town to serve as an entertainment facility during the day which also saw large bonfires at night. Bunnell wanted the fires to symbolize the passing of the torch of knowledge, according to a history of the event on the university’s website. The quirky name — “Starvation Gulch” — was a jestful poke at the early pioneers of Fairbanks. Today, the event serves as a kick off to the new school year. For more on the history, see