Traditional Blue & Gold At UNK Offers New Features, Too

Brandon Benitz
assistant to the dean of Student Life, 308.865.1619


Welcome Weeks on university campuses across the country will be commencing soon, but Blue & Gold Week at the University of Nebraska, Kearney, will retain uniqueness and attraction in its agenda by continuing beloved traditions of this weeklong celebration along with the addition of some exciting, new features.

Thursday, August 21

For the first time ever, UNK students will move in a day earlier than usual—that is, on Thursday instead of Friday. “We want students to be able to immediately connect with their faculty, as well as the UNK and Kearney communities, as soon as they arrive in town,” Brandon Benitz, assistant to the Dean of Student Life at UNK, says. 

Move-In Day is the favorite occasion this time of year for community citizens who have been participating for years, and it easily becomes the favorite of newcomers to the move-in party. One recently-new mover commented, “What a wonderful demonstration of Kearney’s genuine regard for its UNK students. It is unusual to see this kind of support from private citizens and public businesses alike. You (Kearney) have a treasure here, in this Move-In program.” 

Engagement with parents will be intensified this year to more intimately meet the needs—information-wise and emotionally, if you will–of this other group of people who are embarking upon new ground, sending their children off to college. Their questions will be answered, and any concerns alleviated, during a variety of workshops especially designed for parents as well as the Meet the Family Picnic.

In “The Challenge for You and Your Student” workshop, hosted by Dr. Gail Zeller, Dean of Student Life, parents will meet other parents who, having sent their own children off to college in the last year or two, will lend a hand to support new UNK parents through their transition. 

On this first night of Blue & Gold Week, attendees will be privileged with a sneak preview of the season’s Pre-Game and Halftime Show performances of the UNK Marching Band, 6 p.m., Foster Field. UNK’s exciting Drum Line will open the season at the New Student Welcome Convocation earlier in the day.


Then, to wrap-up the first Blue & Gold day of 2008, Shevy Smith, an UNK performance favorite, will begin rockin’ campus at 9 p.m. at Cope Memorial Fountain. Recently named Campus Activities magazine’s Female Performer of the Year, Smith grew up in Haven, Kansas, (which she points out as only one letter shy of Heaven), on the back of her pony, named “Tony.” Her parents easily filled her head and heart with the art of Emmylou Harris, The Band, The Beatles and Linda Ronstadt. “With an authenticity deeply-rooted in the late 70s era of sunny California country-rock, she is a modern throwback…Shevy’s tunes reflect a young, free-wheeling attitude ” (CD Baby and Petty Cash Records).


Friday, August 22

The theme of UNK’s Blue and Gold Week this year is “Through the Decades.” Thus, the traditional

Blue and Gold Community Showcase will remain on Friday afternoon from 4-8 p.m., all around the bell tower! This is the optimal opportunity for Kearney area businesses to display their services to new and returning students and families at the Community Showcase. It’s a win-win situation, as the Showcase is informative and especially supportive of the students during this time of transition. 

After the Showcase, everyone—UNK faculty and staff, students and families, and Kearney community and residents–is invited to enjoy getting to know one another at the Chancellor’s Picnic from 5-6:30 p.m., Cope Memorial Fountain. 


The evening will conclude with laughter and fun at the Welcome Back Comedy Night, featuring comedian Steve Hofstetter, who has had appearances on Jay Leno, at Comix comedy club, the Improv, and on college campuses across the country. 


Saturday, August 23 

Community service, and service-learning are staples of the Learning Experience at UNK, therefore, a presentation and workshop on Civic Engagement, because Lopers Care, will take place on the third day of Welcome Week at which students will learn about the vast opportunities to give to their new community, and themselves. Speakers will include faculty and students who are leaders in this comprehensive program at UNK.


Sunday, August 24 

Just for UNK students, the UNK Splash Down will take place at Harmon Park Pool from 4-7 p.m. This new event is especially-endorsed by Chancellor Kristensen, who wanted to give incoming freshmen another chance to have fun together within the Kearney community. Kearney Parks & Recreation is providing the pool and park, a sound system, and plenty of soda pop to help welcome the town’s new residents. Little Caesar’s is providing lotsa lotsa pizza! pizza! Jump on in; the water’s fine! 

Thursday, August 28 

The week of community-wide events culminates, appropriately, with the all-encompassing Destination Downtown, a festival located on The Bricks in downtown Kearney with live music, free food, street performers, and loads of discounts and offers, especially for students, from the Kearney business district. Members of the UNK Marching Band will be in their street clothes, giving casual display of their formations all along the Destination Downtown route. “We are expecting some 50 businesses and vendors to line Central Avenue,” Benitz exclaims, “all of them welcoming and focusing UNK students back to school.”

For more information on the UNK community welcome to students—Blue & Gold Week—call 865-8523 or go to