Campus, community celebrating new school year during Blue and Gold Welcome Week

KEARNEY – It’s time to kick off a new school year.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is welcoming new and returning students to campus with a variety of events and activities beginning Friday.

A longstanding UNK tradition, Blue and Gold Welcome Week allows Lopers to connect with campus and the Kearney community while building new relationships and learning about services and resources that will help them throughout their college career.

“Blue and Gold Welcome Week is a way for incoming students to become familiar with the campus, meet faculty and fellow students and gain knowledge about the educational opportunities available to them,” said Renae Zimmer, director of student engagement at UNK. “We’re looking forward to a great week filled with Loper pride.”

The largest and most popular event, Blue and Gold Showcase, is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Friday near the Bell Tower and Cope Fountain on campus. Around 2,000 to 3,000 students, staff, faculty and community members typically attend the back-to-school bash, which includes a variety of games and activities, live music by Joe Huettner and plenty of product giveaways and prizes.

More than 160 businesses, campus organizations and other exhibitors are expected to participate in the showcase, and Chancellor Doug Kristensen is hosting a picnic from 5:30-7 p.m.

Blue and Gold Showcase is free and open to the public.

The Pride of the Plains Marching Band will perform a public exhibition 7:30 p.m. Friday at Foster Field, and the Playfair activities for new students are 9-10:30 p.m. that day, also at Foster Field.

The fun continues Saturday with breakfast and yard games for new students from 8-10 a.m. near the Bell Tower, followed by a free lunch with faculty from noon to 2 p.m. in the Health and Sports Center.

That evening, UNK students can learn about Campus Recreation and intramurals by exploring the activity stations at Foster Field and the campus greens from 7-8:30 p.m. Loper Programming and Activities Council is sponsoring a DJ from 7:30-9 p.m. and the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion is hosting a bilingual concert (Spanish/English) featuring Rosendo Robles from 9-11 p.m. The DJ and concert are both at Cope Fountain.

Another popular Blue and Gold Welcome Week event, Destination Downtown, is scheduled for 5:30-9 p.m. Aug. 25 along Central Avenue in downtown Kearney.

Students and community members are invited to check out local businesses while enjoying food, games and other activities. Omaha pop/rock band Joystick will perform an outdoor concert beginning at 5:30 p.m., playing hits from the 1970s to today’s music. The meal at Cunningham’s Journal costs $5, but all other activities are free.

UNK students can take a free shuttle to and from the event. The first shuttle leaves the parking lot north of the Nebraskan Student Union at 5 p.m. and the final shuttle back to campus departs from the First National Bank of Omaha parking lot at 11 p.m.

Other Blue and Gold Welcome Week events include:

Thursday, Aug. 18
Watermelon Social – 3-4:30 p.m., North of West Center – Come welcome international students to campus.

Friday, Aug. 19
Parent Orientation and Social – 1-2 p.m., Nebraskan Student Union Antelope Room – Parents are invited to learn about UNK’s Parent and Family Association and campus resources.
Class Roam – 1-2 p.m. – This is an opportunity for new students to familiarize themselves with campus and meet faculty members from different departments.
Parade of Lopers – 3:30-4 p.m. – Cheer on the Class of 2026 by lining the sidewalk from the Bell Tower to the Health and Sports Center as they head to convocation.

Saturday, Aug. 20
Campus Resource Workshops – 2-5 p.m., Copeland Hall – Students are encouraged to attend to learn about campus resources and services.
Student Organization Meetings – 5-6 p.m., Copeland Hall – Learn about the student organizations on campus and ways to get involved.
Guest Speaker – 6-7 p.m., Foster Field – Motivational speaker Jeff Venekamp.

Sunday, Aug. 21
Transfer and Commuter Campus Roam – 1-2:30 p.m., Nebraskan Student Union Antelope Room – A chance for transfer and commuter students to learn more about campus life.

Monday, Aug. 22
Music Ensemble Fair – 6:15-7:15 p.m., Outside the Fine Arts Recital Hall – An all-student event to learn about the music ensembles on campus and meet music faculty. Refreshments and food will be provided.

Wednesday, Aug. 24
Yardy Party – 2-4:30 p.m., Campus greens near Cope Fountain – Join Academic Advising and Career Development for cornhole, Polish horseshoes, Spikeball, Kan Jam and other games. The first 200 students will receive a voucher for free Tropical Sno.

Friday, Aug. 26
LPAC Movie Night – 9-11 p.m. – Bring your favorite snack and a blanket and enjoy “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” on the campus greens.