UNK Kicks Off School Year; Blue And Gold Week Begins Thursday, Aug. 21

Brandon Benitz
assistant to the dean of Student Life, 308.865.1619

UNK- “Through the Decades” will be the theme of Blue & Gold Welcome Week as the University of Nebraska at Kearney kicks off the 2008-2009 school year beginning on Thursday, Aug. 21.
           Blue & Gold Welcome Week, which takes place the first week of school, gives students an opportunity to meet fellow students, faculty, staff and community members as they participate in a variety of activities. A full list of the week’s activities can be found by going to: www.unk.edu/bgww and clicking on the Schedule of Events link.
        Brandon Benitz, assistant to the dean of Student Life, said, “This week is important, because it gives students a chance to get connected, not only to other students, but also to the campus and the community. Our bigger events like the Chancellor’s Picnic, the Blue and Gold Community Showcase, and Destination Downtown do just that. It’s all about connecting students.”
        Blue & Gold Welcome Week begins when residence halls open at 8 a.m. on Thursday for UNK students to move into campus housing. According to Benitz, this is the first time in history that UNK has opened its residence halls to all UNK students and allowed them to move in on Thursday.
        “There is a lot of information students need to know in order to become good stewards of their own education,” Benitz said, adding that, “this new and expanded academic orientation portion of Blue and Gold Welcome Week is specifically designed to accomplish that by connecting incoming freshman with their faculty and upper class students in their major in a unique way, starting with a convocation on Thursday afternoon and having events continue through Saturday morning.”
        On Friday, 4 – 8 p.m. the traditional Blue and Gold Community Showcase takes place around the Carillon Tower. Some activities this year include a rock climbing wall, a dunking tank and creating wax hands. In addition, students will have an opportunity to take advantage of giveaways, free food and live music.
        Starting at 5 p.m., the annual Chancellor’s Picnic will take place by the Cope Fountain. The picnic is free to students and community members, and will run until 6:30 p.m.
        New this year, a number of UNK offices and facilities will be open on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. In previous years, only a limited number of offices were open the first weekend of the semester.
        Offices and facilities that will be open include: Academic Advising, Academic Success, Admissions, Antelope Bookstore, Calvin T. Ryan Library, Counseling Care, Finance Office, Financial Aid, Health Care, Information Technology Services Help Desk, UNK Connections, International Student Services, Multicultural Affairs, Public Safety and Parking Services, Registrar’s Office, Residential and Greek life, Student Employment, and the Nebraskan Student Union and UNK ID Card Office.
        In addition, the Frank House will open on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and free lemonade will be served to visitors. After Saturday, the Frank house will resume normal open hours which are 1 -5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. There is no cost of admission that Saturday.
        According to KrisAnn Sullivan, director of the Frank House, Saturdays at the Franks, which include Frank talks, parlor performances and family workshops, will resume beginning in the middle of September. There is no admission fee for UNK student, faculty or staff. For more information about what is happening at the Frank House visit: www.frankhouse.org   
        Also on Saturday, students will gather in the Stout/Mantor courtyard for a movie on the big screen. Free popcorn and refreshments will be served.
        The week’s events will conclude on Thursday, Aug. 28, with Destination Downtown, which will take place from 8-11 p.m.
        “Destination Downtown is one of our most popular events during this week,” Benitz said, “Last year, we estimated that nearly 6,500 students and community members attended this event and we are expecting more this year.
        “The event is designed to get UNK students out to explore the downtown Kearney area. Its popularity is in part due to the free transportation. Last year, nearly 1,800 students took advantage of the trolleys that ran between the UNK campus and ‘The Bricks,’” he said.
        The event allows students to explore Downtown Kearney. There will be live music, an eating contest, caricature artists, student discounts, prizes, free food and street performers. Trolleys will run from the Nebraskan Student Union and URS to “The Bricks” all evening.