By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Programming for students, by students.
That’s the tagline for Loper Programming and Activities Council (LPAC), a student-run group that plans some of the most exciting and popular events on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus.
The upcoming spring concert is organized by LPAC, with rapper and social media sensation Yung Gravy performing 7:30 p.m. April 27 at UNK’s Health and Sports Center. So are the annual Fame Talent Show, Build-A-Bear workshop, 5K Fun Run, gingerbread house competition and swing dance, along with homecoming festivities such as the lip-sync contest and numerous activities during Blue and Gold Welcome Week each August.
Every LPAC event is planned with the same goals in mind.
“It’s a way for students to connect with campus and the Kearney community,” said Olivia Koenig, the organization’s president. “We want to provide entertainment and ways for students to relax and kind of unplug from their education for a bit.”
“It’s a way for students to come together and hang out. And it’s a great way to meet new people,” added Emma Bond, who serves as the performing arts co-chair.
Bond and Koenig both joined LPAC during their freshman year at UNK. They enjoy working with their fellow Lopers to bring a variety of events and activities to campus.
“This is a great way to get involved and it’s been super beneficial for me. It’s taught me how to plan events, what I need to do to prepare for them and how to host things. It’s been great leadership-wise,” said Bond, a sophomore from Kearney studying marketing and media production.
Most LPAC events take a few months to plan, with assistance from Director of Student Engagement Renae Zimmer and other campus officials.
“We kind of get to do the fun part as students,” said Koenig, a senior from Lakeville, Minnesota, studying criminal justice and psychology. “We keep a lot of the same events from year to year, but we’re also looking to do new things.”
This year, for instance, LPAC added a guided painting night to its schedule of events. To generate even more ideas, five members traveled with Zimmer last month to a National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) convention in Louisville, Kentucky.
About 2,000 students from roughly 250 colleges and universities were at the event, allowing them to network with their peers and attend educational, event management/planning and professional development workshops. They also got to check out a number of entertainers who perform on college campuses as well as businesses that provide outside-the-box activities such as a human claw machine and virtual reality roller coaster.
“You see it all at NACA. You really do,” said Zimmer. “An event like this allows our students to bring a fresh perspective and new ideas back to the rest of the LPAC members.”
Bond is already thinking about the possibilities.
“It showed me there are a lot more events and acts that we can bring to campus for students,” she said. “We have the budget to do lots of fun things. I’m excited to see where we go and what we do next year.”
LPAC is open to any UNK student. The group meets 5 p.m. Thursdays in the Nebraskan Student Union Antelope Room.