Friday nights rock at UNK
Published in FSD Update
Students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) have a new reason to hang out on campus on Friday nights—and dining services has a new revenue source. At the start of the fall semester, dining services teamed with the university to launch Loper Live Music Nights, named after the university’s mascot. Held in the student union food court, the university partners with a local company to book talent, including UNK students, for the Friday night shows. “We were pretty slow starting out,” shares Mardi Engels, director of marketing for UNK Dining Services. “But we’ve really gained a lot of traction and promoted a lot of awareness about it and we’ve been getting a good crowd. The best nights have been when our own UNK students have performed.”
With the goal of keeping more students on campus on weekend nights, the university funds the program and dining services keeps one location open later to accommodate the event; instead of closing at 8 p.m. the location stays open until 10:30 p.m. on music nights. Food options include snacks, sandwiches, wraps and Starbucks coffee. Like dining services, students also benefit from the additional hours, as well as the music. “When they know Loper Live Music Night is going on, whether they’re there for music or for coffee, people just come in and study during that time, too,” Engels explains.
Loper Live Music Nights are generally held every other Friday, though there isn’t a fixed schedule this year. “There’s no real schedule. We pretty much [meet with the university programming committee] once a month and before each semester we see where the other university events fall and we fill in the gaps with Loper Live Music Nights,” Engels says.
Engels has had success promoting the event through social media, banners and signage placed throughout the student union and other campus locations and on the university calendar.