Community members will get a chance to welcome back students to the University of
Nebraska at Kearney campus at the annual Blue and Gold Welcome Week, August 23 through Sept. 7.
The 16-day event is designed to help students become familiar with the UNK campus before classes begin, as well as give the public a chance to interact with students, faculty, staff and alumni through a variety of activities. This year's theme is To UNK and Beyond.
Students begin moving into residence halls Friday and classes start Aug. 26.
Blue and Gold Welcome Week kicks off with the Blue and Gold Community Showcase, the annual welcome festival where more than 200 businesses and campus organizations set up booths. Live entertainment, food and product giveaways highlight the showcase, which is from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in the center of campus.
The showcase includes a free picnic hosted by Chancellor Doug Kristensen. The event is for students, faculty and community members from 5:30 to 7 p.m. near Cope Memorial Fountain.
"Our Blue and Gold Showcase celebration is a great way to introduce new and returning students to campus," said Chandra Daffer, First Year Program assistant director. "It gives them an opportunity to become engaged, find organizations they can become involved with and socialize in a fun, laid back atmosphere."
Another popular Welcome Week event open to the public is Destination Downtown from 8 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 29. Hosted in Downtown Kearney: The Bricks, the gathering includes prizes, free food, student discounts at businesses, an eating contest and live music from Kearney-based band The Talbott Brothers.
Buses will run from the Nebraskan Student Union and University Residence South to downtown and back until 11 p.m. forDestination Downtown.
Strong community involvement and participation from area businesses is key to making Blue and Gold Welcome Week events successful, Daffer said.
"We have so many wonderful community partnerships. The businesses and people involved in our activities are able to give students a positive first impression of our community," she said. "Their involvement really sets the tone by showing students how welcoming Kearney is."
Additional Blue and Gold Welcome Week events open to the public include:
Thursday, Aug. 22
3 p.m. – UNK Volleyball Blue/White Scrimmage, UNK Health and Sports Center.
Friday, Aug. 23
7 to 7:30 p.m. – Pride of the Plains marching band exhibition at Foster Field, including the 2013 pregame and season-opening halftime shows.
Saturday, Aug. 24
8 to 10 p.m. – Runza Lopers Under The Lights at Foster Field. Fans can get autographs from Loper coaches and athletes, who will host interactive games for kids. Free food, music and chances to win prizes are among the highlights.
Tuesday, Sept. 3
6:30 p.m. – Soccer Blue & Gold Scrimmage at Foster Field.
Thursday, Sept. 5
6 p.m. – UNK football vs. Washburn University. The Lopers host their Pack the House event when they open the season under the lights against a new conference rival.
Friday, Sept. 6
Noon – UNK volleyball vs. William Jewell.
7 p.m. – UNK cross country Loper Time Trial at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course.
8 p.m. – UNK volleyball vs Chadron State.
Saturday, Sept. 7
Noon – UNK volleyball vs Black Hills State
6 p.m. – UNK volleyball vs South Dakota School of Mines and Technology