Nearly 3,000 students from across the four campuses of the University of North Georgia recently came together for the first time at the newly christened Nighthawks Entertainment Board's free concert.
On April 17 the Nighthawks Entertainment Board presented country artist Billy Currington with guest Greg Bates in partnership with the Student Government Associations of the Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee campuses and the Cumming Campus' Student Advisory Committee. To accommodate all four campuses, the concert was held in the Cumming Fairgrounds Arena with transportation to and from the event provided for students.
Students in Dahlonega have looked forward to the annual concert for years, but this year it became the first event for students at all four campuses. Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University consolidated in January to form UNG.
"The concert was a huge success and it was a pretty big deal for our campus to combine with the other campuses," said Nighthawk Entertainment Board president Kayna Clemons. "I was so pleased with the turnout of nearly 3,000 students and I thought it was a huge success for a new venue."
Besides being open to all UNG students, the concert was also hosted by each campus in collaboration. A crew of more than 65 volunteers drawn from all four campuses and members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity helped make the show a success.
"Without all the volunteers the concert wouldn't have been possible," Clemons said.
Dr. Cara Ray, associate dean for Student Life at the Gainesville campus, hopes that each campus will continue to work together in the future.
"It was great for our Gainesville students in Student Government Association and the Nighthawks Entertainment Board to meet their counterparts from other campuses," she said. "Staffing the concert gave us the opportunity to have them all working together, hopefully laying the groundwork for future collaboration."
Jarrett Kirby, a student from the Gainesville campus who volunteered to work the event, was excited to meet students from other campuses.
"I worked the entry line, so I was able to introduce myself to some students from other campuses," Kirby said. "I really enjoyed that opportunity. As an advocate for my campus I try to show that we are accepting of change and camaraderie."
"The concert provided a chance for students across the university to have a common experience," Ray said. "These kinds of events are known to build community and enhance students' feelings of connection to the university."