Blue and Gold Days Kick Off the First Week of the UNK School Year

Brandon Benitz
assistant to the dean of Student Life, 308.865.1619

UNK–  “UNK: Where the Magic Happens” is the theme of Blue & Gold Welcome Week as the  University of Nebraska at Kearney kicks off the 2010-2011 school year.

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 Affairs. “Students have the opportunity to meet faculty, community members and upperclassmen all in the first week.”

Activities begin Friday, Aug. 20, when students move into UNK residence halls. Volunteers will be available to move students in from 8 a.m. to 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.”

Students who are new to campus will also attend a welcome convocation in the Health and Sports Center, and academic orientation which will be held in classrooms around UNK campus.

“The academic orientation is a great learning opportunity for new students, because they learn skills to be successful at UNK,” Benitz said. “They will also get to connect with a faculty member in their area of study.”

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 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 bell tower. The picnic, which is free to students and their families, as well as UNK campus and the Kearney community, will run until 7 p.m.

Friday night will conclude with a Welcome Back Comedy Night, featuring comedian Steve Hofstetter, at 9 p.m. The comedy show will be in the Ponderosa Room of the Nebraskan Student Union. Opening for Hofstetter will be comedian Mike Trainor. The show is free and open to the public.

“This is our fourth time having Steve Hofstetter here at UNK,” Benitz said. “Last year, we almost had a packed house; more than 600 students attended the comedian.”

Many UNK facilities and offices will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 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.

Saturday night activities will consist of Lopers Under the Lights from 8-11 p.m. Lopers Under the Lights gives students the opportunity to meet UNK athletes, practice sports drills and win prizes. There will be a pep rally at the conclusion of the event.

Sunday afternoon from 2-5 p.m. students have the opportunity to swim during the UNK Splash Down at Harmon Park Pool. Swimming is free with a student I.D.

UNK fall classes begin Monday, Aug. 23. Monday night, students receive a special discount and free popcorn when attending a movie at the Hilltop 4 Theaters.

Welcome Week activities continue on Tuesday, Aug. 24, with a performance by John Rush. Rush will perform from 7-9 p.m. outside near the Cope Fountain. Rush is known as a “Human iPod” for his ability to play music by more than 175 bands on request.

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. 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 5,000 students and community members.”

The Blue & G old Rock ‘n Skate will take place Friday, Aug. 27, at the Viaero Event Center, and will be free with a student I.D. Students will have a chance to ice skate, listen to the band Soca Jukebox and have opportunities to win prizes. A pep rally will take place during the Rock ‘n Skate to prepare for Saturday’s football game.

The week concludes Saturday, Aug. 28, with the Loper home football opener against Wayne State at 6 p.m. After the football game, students can gather for an outdoor movie on the big screen. Free popcorn and refreshments will be provided for the students.