Genevieve Bright enjoys the challenges of “oddball sports”

Whether it’s riding a tiny motorcycle across Romania, or running a marathon, Genevieve Bright has never backed down from challenging herself. 

Genevieve Bright

“Even though I really hate running, I ran the second leg of the Equinox Marathon as part of a relay, and did the Santa Half Marathon in North Pole,” said Bright. “It’s not really an athletic accomplishment… more of a ‘I did it even though I hated it the whole time’ accomplishment. Which I suppose is not particularly invalid.”

This summer she participated in a fundraising adventure race in Romania, hosted by the Adventurists, which benefited an organization called Cool Earth, that works with Indigenous populations to preserve the Rainforest. The race is unusual in that while all participants start and finish at the same place, how you get to the finish doesn’t matter ... you just can't be late.

The Adventurists discourage the use of major roads or highways, as the bikes are not capable of reaching highway speeds. Bright was one of 43 riders that split into several smaller groups.

Genevieve Bright

“Getting away from the major routes also meant we were able to connect with the locals in rural Romania,” said Bright. “Some of the kindest and most generous people I've ever met - they were always very helpful whenever we pulled out a map and attempted to hodgepodge our broken Italian/French/Spanish since none of us spoke Romanian. At the end, our little group was given the Legends of the Monkey Run award for overcoming the most insurmountable nonsense during the journey. It was a blast, and I highly recommend the trip if anyone has the ability to go.”

Bright joined the University of Alaska Foundation as the assistant to the senior director of principal gifts on October 14. She began her career at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as the office manager and assistant to the director of UAF Development and Alumni Relations in November 2015. 

“What I’ve loved the most about my work is seeing the impact of donor generosity, and gratitude from students who have had their lives changed by that philanthropy,” said Bright. “I’ve been lucky enough to connect these students and donors through events like the Scholarship Breakfast at UAF, but also through my stewardship role – forwarding thank you notes from students to donors, creating impact reports, and collecting donor stories.”

In her position, Bright supports UA Foundation leadership in Fairbanks. She prepares impact reports, arranges travel itineraries and schedules meetings. She is also the Office Manager for the Fairbanks Foundation Office, which involves managing in-house logistics and acting as a conduit between donors and the Foundation team.

Bright was born and raised in Midland, Michigan. She says that lots of folks from Michigan move to Alaska, and vice versa. In her 20s, Bright lived in Louisiana, New York and Alabama before settling down in North Pole, Alaska in November 2011. 

“I think there’s a similarity in weather and temperament between Michigan and Alaska,” said Bright. “We drove to Alaska from Alabama, and I was 8 months pregnant at the time. We arrived at our new house with frozen pipes and no working water heater.”

Bright started college at the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, where she played two years of rugby. She transferred to Louisiana State University. She graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from the State University of New York Oswego.  

“I’ve taken a number of classes since then (mostly in the Health Science field), mainly out of curiosity but I still love a good story,” said Bright. 

Genevieve Bright

Bright has a daughter, Iris, who is 7-years-old and a 6-year-old son, Brian. The family has a 10-year-old rotti named Ares (giant baby), and a 1-year-old mutt named Nallie (wiggly baby). 

“After my son was born in 2013 I started playing roller derby with Fairbanks Rollergirls, and made my first Alaska friends there,” said Bright. “I love sports (the more obscure the better) and have a sort of family tradition of attending the Farthest North Forest Sports festival with my kids every fall. We also like to climb at Ascension Rock Club, ride bikes (while I run), go berry picking, and paddle at the lakes.”