Newman Center kicks off community life with welcome back BBQ


Claire Redinger

The St. John Paul II Newman Center hosted its 4th annual Welcome Week BBQ event for the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) community on Aug. 28 from 6-9 p.m.

The Newman Center, a privately owned, off-campus Catholic dorm and parish, welcomed over 540 people into the courtyard – making this the biggest BBQ yet, according to Katie Winkler, director of community life at the Newman Center.

“It is so fun to host this event at our home and meet so many new students,” Winkler said. “We’re excited to continue hosting the BBQ for years to come.”

At the BBQ, some students sat at tables across the yard eating free hotdogs and hamburgers, while others battled it out in Spikeball or played cornhole. Event attendees also chatted and cheered for yard game competitors, and a live band played in the background. Newman Center staff and volunteers helped serve food and introduced themselves to students who were visiting for the first time.

John Kanel, a UNO senior studying business administration, said he does not live at the Newman Center, but he and his roommates regularly attend community events.

“I enjoy coming to the Newman Center because the people are some of the best in the world,” Kanel said.

The BBQ felt “very welcoming” and “homey” for Kanel, and he said he is excited to kick off the school year and get to know the new pastor, Rev. Dan Andrews.

Another event attendee, freshman kinesiology major Emma Brandt, said she was enjoying the environment and how “everyone looks like they’re having a good time.”

Brandt said that this event made her excited for the other Newman Center community events that will take place this year.

“We loved having everyone here for Durango Days,” Winkler said. “We hope the UNO community will continue to come to JPII Newman even after Durango Days are over.”

The BBQ event was sponsored by the Newman Center and UNO’s Office of Spirit and Tradition. For more information on future Newman Center events please visit: