By Stefan Snijders
The students as a whole found a warm welcome back to campus this fall with the University of Nebraska at Omaha Durango Days this past week.
From underclassmen to graduate students milled around campus consorting, students were introducing themselves, welcoming each other back and of course availing themselves of the engagements, invitations and refreshments on hand. Booths and tables lined every corner of campus, offering opportunities to join in social activities and organizations.
The weather held sunny skies with an average of 78 to 80 degrees most of the week, allowing for outdoor events and attractions to proceed uninterrupted after a humid summer that featured temperatures consistently above 95 degrees.
Food was the major attraction, with fare from barbecue and hamburgers, to pizza, ice cream, or pancakes being offered to students at various locations covering the Dodge Street campus.
“The smell of fresh pancakes lingered around in PKI as I walked through the hallway,” Ben Bauwens, a sophomore management information systems major, said on Wednesday, with a quick, “Go Mavs!” added at the end.
On Tuesday, the walking taco was a popular food item offered at The Pep Bowl. Students lined up by the hundreds to get a bag of Fritos topped with traditional taco trimmings, served with a plastic fork. There were plates of fresh raw vegetables as well, and plenty of cold beverages available to wash down the foods.
Senior Roxanne Dockter spilled her walking taco in her backpack, but otherwise she found much to occupy her between classes.
“I went to the booths for community engagement,” Dockter said. “I found the booths were really close together and it was hard to get by other students, we had to squeeze our way through with our book bags, but I thought overall it was a good experience. There were a lot of options and everyone was really friendly.”
Professor Hugh Reilly, who is director of the School of Communication, helped his daughter move into the dorms this week, but he didn’t let that prevent him from attending the Sunday convocation at the HPER building. Reilly said it was an overflowing crowd with chairs being put in the balcony to handle all the students. He said the speakers were energetic and the crowd responded well to them.
“It was a great introduction to UNO for these students and made me proud that I was a faculty member here,” Reilly said.
Freshmen Daniel Andrews and Raishaan Hodges said Durango Days were a great opportunity to meet a lot of different people from different backgrounds, and just to be a lot more active on campus.
“It’s a lot more open environment,” Hodges said. “I didn’t know college would be this exciting.”