KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is kicking off the new school year with a weeklong celebration.
Blue and Gold Welcome Week features a variety of events and activities that connect new and returning Lopers with campus and the Kearney community.
The festivities begin Friday, when more than 2,000 people are expected to be on campus for the annual Blue and Gold Showcase. Scheduled for 5-8 p.m. on the campus greens near Cope Fountain, this iconic event brings students, staff, faculty and community members together for an evening of fun, food and entertainment.
Around 200 businesses, campus organizations and other exhibitors are expected to participate, giving attendees a chance to learn more about local resources while collecting lots of free stuff. Chancellor Doug Kristensen will host his traditional community picnic from 5:30-7 p.m. that day as part of the showcase.
The Pride of the Plains Marching Band will perform a public exhibition 7:30 p.m. Friday at Foster Field and there’s a bilingual concert (Spanish/English) featuring Rosendo Robles at 9 p.m. near Cope Fountain.
Friday’s events are free and open to the public.
New students will participate in Playfair activities, including an all-campus Rock, Paper, Scissors contest, from 7:30-9 p.m. Saturday at Foster Field and the Rec Round Campus event is scheduled for 1-6 p.m. Sunday, when Lopers can play yard games, try out the indoor climbing wall and explore other Campus Recreation offerings. Loper Programming and Activities Council is hosting bingo from 3-4:30 p.m. Sunday in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room.
Another popular Blue and Gold Welcome Week event, Destination Downtown, is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Aug. 24 along Central Avenue in downtown Kearney.
Students and community members are invited to check out local businesses and vendors while enjoying food, games and other activities, including an outdoor concert from Omaha party/dance band ECKO beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be discounts for UNK students, as well as prize giveaways.
A meal at Cunningham’s Journal costs $7 per person, but all other activities are free.
UNK students can take a free shuttle to and from the event. The shuttle runs from 5-9 p.m., with pickup and drop-off points in the parking lot north of the Nebraskan Student Union and near Cunningham’s Journal.
The new school year officially begins Monday, when fall classes start at UNK.
Other Blue and Gold Welcome Week events include:
Friday, Aug. 18
Noon to 3:30 p.m. – Academic Open Houses – Follow a GooseChase scavenger hunt to explore campus, find your classes, meet faculty and staff and discover some of the offices to help you succeed academically.
Noon to 3:30 p.m. – Parent/Family Meetings – Parents and families will learn about campus resources and get answers to any questions they have.
3:30 to 4 p.m. – Parade of Lopers – Cheer on the Class of 2027 as they head to convocation in the Health and Sports Center.
4 to 5 p.m. – Convocation – New students and their families are officially welcomed to campus.
Saturday, Aug. 19
9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Campus Connections – Learn about campus resources, departments and organizations.
Wednesday, Aug. 23
4 to 6 p.m. – All FSL Recruitment Event – Head to the green space between Antelope Hall and the Nebraskan Student Union to enjoy some Tropical Sno and learn more about the Fraternity and Sorority Life community.
6:30 to 8 p.m. – UNK Theatre and Dance Ice Cream Social and Convocation – All new and returning students interested in theater and dance are invited. Ice cream will be served at 6:30 p.m. on the east side of the Fine Arts Building, followed by convocation in the Miriam Drake Theatre.
Friday, Aug. 25
8:30 to 10:30 p.m. – LPAC Movie Night – Grab a blanket and a friend and enjoy “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” on the campus greens. Snacks will be provided.