KEARNEY – The Peer Health Education student organization at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is hosting a new event designed to give students a safe, alcohol-free option when celebrating homecoming.
In its first year, The After Party is from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday on the UNK campus between Antelope/Nester and Men’s Hall. It will be moved to Cushing Coliseum if needed due to inclement weather.
“The After Party is an alcohol-free event designed to shift environmental norms away from high risk behaviors and onto safer and healthier activities on the night of UNK’s Homecoming,” said senior Kaitlyn Smejdir, president of Peer Health Education.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is helping facilitate the event, which is being funded with help from Region 3 Behavioral Health Services and UNK’s LoperNites fund. “Volunteers are key to making The After Party possible,” said junior Kylie Kissinger, secretary of Peer Health Education.
Four large inflatables, yard games, food and college football televised on a 7’ x 12’ high definition screen are among activities planned.
“We’re really excited about this first year of this big event that bridges the gaps between UNK Homecoming activities and what could easily become a high risk drinking night,” said Ismael Torres, advisor to Peer Health Education.
Based on attendance at similar campus events such as OkSOBERfest, UNK sophomore and peer educator McKenna Kral expects 400 students to attend The After Party. “We just hope that events like this show others that alcohol is not needed to have fun during (Homecoming).”
Said former Peer Health Education president and recent UNK graduate Samantha Mitchell, “Putting on The After Party is a lot of hard work and takes months of preparation, but students really enjoy themselves and are staying safe on a night that could otherwise be scary due to excessive drinking and partying.”
The Peer Health Education program is a student organization under the supervision of UNK’s Health Education Office. Student members work to engage, educate and empower students on how to make wise choices when it comes to alcohol, tobacco use and high-risk behaviors.