After a decadeslong hiatus—We miss Fantasyland!—roller skating finally returns to Lawrence, thanks to Student Union Activities’ first-ever skate-night party, 8 to 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5, in the Kansas Union Ballroom.
“Flashback Friday”—a retro-themed evening with a DJ spinning disco music, snacks and prizes, and of course the requisite dazzling disco ball—will help introduce a younger generation to the four-wheeling thrills that fueled their parents’ long-ago Friday night with friends.
The event is free to current KU students, and SUA special-events coordinator Taylor Burke emphasizes that everyone is welcome to join in the fun. The $10 admission for the general public includes skates, provided by Neon Entertainment, which will set up its portable rink in the Ballroom.
“This is completely new for us, and people are really amped about it,” Burke says. “It’s so easy and fun just to come to the Union and skate. We don’t have a roller rink [in Lawrence], so I think people are going to be really excited.”
Indeed we are. Bring on the disco duck (one foot only!). And a snowball (girls lined up on side, boys on the other), a couples-only moonlight skate, and, a limbo or two, with prizes for those who can really get down.
The only thing not authentically retro: Anyone skating will be asked to sign a liability waiver.
For one day during Homecoming week every year, Wescoe Beach is transformed into a colorful palette of murals chalked by students.
Rain didn’t put a damper on this year’s competition—wet conditions forced the event to be rescheduled from Tuesday to Thursday, but creative Jayhawks still showed up to chalk designs depicting this year’s Homecoming theme, “Ghosts of Jayhawks Past.”
Participating organizations were assigned a square on Wescoe Beach and given four hours to create their masterpiece. Artistic talent was on display with spooky scenes, plenty of pumpkins and ghostly Jayhawks making appearances.
A panel of judges selected this year’s winners:
1st place, Student Life: Student Union Activities
2nd place, Student Life: KU School of Engineering
3rd place, Student Life: KU Dance Marathon
1st place, Greek Life: Alpha Chi Omega and Sigma Alpha Epsilon
2nd place, Greek Life: Kappa Alpha Theta and Sigma Nu
3rd place, Greek Life: Sigma Kappa and Delta Chi
KU Memorial Unions and Student Union Activities opened the doors Sept. 3 for the Jay, a new, 4,200-square foot event space in the former Jaybowl site.
Jessie Pringle, student body president; Lauren Arney, KU Memorial Unions Corporation board president; and Kassandra Valles, Student Union Activities president, performed the ribbon-cutting as David Mucci, KU Memorial Unions director, welcomed students, faculty and staff into the renovated space.
“I think you’re going to like what you see,” Mucci said, “and there will be more to come.”
Among the ceremony participants were U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, c’99, l’02, past president of the KU Memorial Unions board, and Dan Sabatini, a’86, whose architecture firm, Sabatini Architects, designed the renovation.
“We maintained some of the Jaybowl’s original character,” Sabatini says. “The ceilings still have the black lights, and those special projectors for cosmic bowling are still here.”
Fans of the old Jaybowl, which closed its doors May 9, will also find memorabilia and photographs of the 62-year-old campus fixture displayed in cases outside the entrance of the new Jay.
The KU Memorial Unions and Student Union Activities hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 29 to mark the grand opening of the Jayhawk Collection, which has a permanent home—thanks to the generosity of local donors James and Mary Ellen Ascher—in the Union’s level two corridor.
The 1,000-plus piece collection, which is displayed in floor-to-ceiling glass cases designed by Sabatini Architects and constructed by B.A. Green Construction, boasts almost any piece of KU memorabilia imaginable, including Jayhawk figurines in every shape and size, apparel, lamps, pens and even antique popcorn tins.
Kenneth “Bud” Jennings, ’57, who started the collection when he was 12, happily spoke to the crowd about the origins of his impressive assortment of KU memorabilia. “My neighbor, who worked at KU, gave me my first Jayhawk toy,” he recalled. From there, the collection only grew as Jennings went to garage sales and auctions over the years.
The collection had been on display in the Union for four years through an agreement with Jennings before he finally decided to auction it off. That was when James, ’51, and Mary Ellen, assoc., stepped in to make a donation to keep the collection where it belonged—on the KU campus.
Mike Reid, director of public affairs, acknowledged the Aschers’ generosity during the ceremony’s opening statements. “Thanks to the Aschers for stepping forward and keeping the Jayhawk spirit alive,” he said. “And thanks for letting us continue to share this collection with all of the Jayhawk nation.”
The Aschers also attended the ceremony and were on hand to help cut the ribbon. “I think it’s beautiful,” James said. “I’m amazed at what they’ve accomplished. The people who put this together are really the ones who get the credit.”
After the ceremony, participants walked the hallway, admiring the collection, which now also contains pieces donated by others in the KU community, and sharing their own stories about pieces they had acquired over the years. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info, recognized a hat he had contributed to the collection and was excited to see it displayed with the other historical items. “No one’s going to believe me that it’s my contribution,” he joked.
The Jayhawk Collection is available for viewing at no charge during the Union’s normal operating hours. Be sure to stop by on your next visit to campus.
Watch the slideshow below to see photos from the event and of the Jayhawk Collection. Photos by Dan Storey.