Blue and Gold Days to Kick Off UNK Fall Semester.

Brandon Benitz
assistant to the dean of Student Life, 308.865.1619

UNK- The beginning of fall classes at University of Nebraska at Kearney is weeks away, but plans are already in place to welcome students to the campus.

“Where the Magic Happens” will be the theme of Blue & Gold Welcome Week as UNK kicks off the 2010-2011 school year in August.

Blue & Gold Welcome Week, which takes place the first week of school, gives students a chance to meet faculty, staff and fellow students. The students will get to know the UNK campus as well as the Kearney community through a variety of events.

“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,” said Brandon Benitz, assistant to the dean of Student Life. “Students have the opportunity to meet faculty, community members and upperclassmen all in the first week.”

Activities will begin Friday, Aug. 20, when students move into UNK residence halls. Volunteers from the campus and the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce will be available to move students in from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

“Every year about 100 chamber members help with freshmen move in,” Benitz said. “Plus this year, we’ll have over 300 student and campus volunteers — fraternities, sororities, campus ministries, student service organizations and other student volunteers.”

Friday will be the traditional Blue & Gold Community Showcase from 5-8 p.m. on the UNK main campus. More than 200 vendors from the campus and the community will be present. There will also be a wax hands exhibit, dunk tank, balloon animals and a caricaturist. Students and community members will have the opportunity to take advantage of giveaways, free food and live entertainment.

The annual Chancellor’s Picnic will begin at 5:30 p.m. near the Cope Fountain. The picnic, which is free to students and their families, as well as to the UNK campus and Kearney community, will run until 7 p.m.

Many UNK facilities and offices will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., giving students a chance to explore the UNK campus and get assistance, if needed. Among the offices that will be open will be: Academic Advising, Academic Success, Admissions, Antelope Bookstore, Counseling Care, Finance Office, Financial Aid, Health Care, Information Technology Services Help Desk, International Student Services, 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, located on the UNK West Campus, will be open for tours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and will serve free beverages. On Monday, the Frank House will return to regular hours, which are Monday-Friday, 2-5 p.m., and Saturdays, noon-5 p.m.

UNK fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 23. Welcome Week activities resume on Tuesday, Aug. 24, with a  7-9 p.m. performance by John Rush. Rush, who is known as a “Human iPod” for his ability to play hits by more than 175 bands on request, will perform by Cope Fountain. The concert is free and open to the public.

On Thursday, Aug. 26, Destination Downtown will take place from 8-11 p.m. downtown on “The Bricks.” Trolleys will provide free transportation to and from downtown. The Trolleys will pick students up on the east side of the Nebraskan Student Union and in the University Residence South parking lot. Students can expect free food, live music, prizes and student discounts.

“Last year, we had about 1,000 students take advantage of the free trolley rides,” Benitz said, “and the attendance for Destination Downtown was more than 6,000 students and community members.”

The week concludes Saturday, Aug. 28, with the first Loper football game against Wayne State at g6 p.m. After the football game, students and community members can gather on the campus for an outdoor movie on the big screen. Free popcorn and refreshments will be served.