Traditions matter. They include historic fight songs, famous rivalries, iconic campus landmarks for selfies, and events and activities that bring students together. Traditions can invoke memories, a sense of pride and a feeling of belonging. At the University of Nebraska at Kearney, there are unique student traditions that are part of the college experience.
Each academic year begins with Blue Gold Welcome. It’s a series of events that introduce new students to campus, providing social, entertainment and informational opportunities. Plus it’s a lot of fun. Students look forward to the Blue-Gold Showcase and Destination Downtown. This is when the Kearney community joins students to welcome them on campus and in the community, and when students begin building lifelong friendships.
“I came from a smaller town where I knew everyone in my high school. So coming to a university that’s a lot bigger than my small town school was very scary to me,” says UNK senior Logan Krejdl from Aurora. “The Blue Gold Welcome events allowed me to meet several people right way when I came to campus. People were very welcoming.”
Homecoming is a tradition that puts students in the spotlight. Most campuses celebrate homecoming, but not everyone does it with Lip-Sync Contest in front of thousands. The 30 year-running UNK Lip-Sync event features student organizations staging a choreographed dance routine set to music. Each year has a theme, and costumes are a big part of the presentation. This event has become a can’t-miss highlight of the year, and it ends with the crowning of the Homecoming Royalty.
“The energy at the Lip-Sync contest is electrifying,” says UNK senior from Omaha, Kylie Kenedy. “I like seeing my friends up on stage and working together. The choreography and the sheer creativity that goes into it is fun to watch, and the audience is always supportive.”
That support is also on display when students work together to give back to those in need. UNK students are known as difference makers. So it’s no wonder that part of the Loper tradition involves community service.
The Big Event, which happens each spring, brings hundreds of students together for one day of service work in Kearney. Students do things like build for Habitat For Humanity, clean churches, do yardwork for the elderly, paint community buildings, sort through donations at Jubilee Center, and much more. The camaraderie that students exhibit while they work together for a greater cause makes the day even more memorable. When Lopers unite, great things happen.
Big name musical acts also come to UNK. The Spring Concert is a chance for students to experience a big concert at the Health and Sports Center. Past shows have featured Kenny Chesney, All-American Rejects, Cole Swindell, Scotty McCreery and Joe Nichols. And students are taking the lead. As part of the Loper Programming and Activities Council (or LPAC), students get the experience of planning major events like these.
“One of my absolute favorite UNK traditions is the Spring Concert,” said senior business major McKenzie Cuba. “I’ve had the pleasure to be on the programming board for that. I get to meet the artists and it’s so fun to plan. The concert is a chance for students to have a good time and get away from doing homework.”
UNK students are generally involved students. Perhaps involvement is a tradition of its own. The list of student organizations, events and activities that students can access is endless. They include activities and groups like intramural broomball and human foosball, International Food Festival, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Fraternity and Sorority Life and much more.
Cuba explains that each UNK tradition has a purpose and it leads to increased benefits for students.
“Life on campus at UNK is like one big family. Getting involved helps you feel like you belong. It gives you a group of friends who want to see you succeed. It’s full of people and experiences that make your life better.”
That sounds like a tradition worth celebrating. To learn more, visit unk.edu/video.