Temperatures are peaking in Kearney this Labor Day weekend, driving University of Nebraska at Kearney students indoors,
but don't be deceived -- UNK enrollment is peaking, too.
"Our total enrollment is at 7199, which is the highest it's been in 16 years'" said Dusty Newton, UNK's Director of Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions.
UNK officials say a positive campus momentum has pushed up the number of first-time, full-time freshman students by 6% over last year, and the students are coming from all over.
"We have students from 48 states, and also a big increase in international students as well. We have students here from about 58 different countries," Newton said.
They come for reasons ranging from academics to sports. UNK generated excitement with its official induction into the Mid-America Athletics Association in July.
For some students, unique programs are the draw. Tokyo resident freshman Daiki Yoshino is enrolled in UNK's Athletic Training Education Program.
"I heard that UNK has a good program, so I came here," explained Yoshino.
While the campus is a virtual ghost town this Labor Day weekend, students will return to class on Tuesday, in greater numbers than ever.
For some, beyond faculty and facilities, it's about the human touch.
"Great people. People actually made me feel welcome. I felt like I belonged here. I felt like there was a connectedness here," UNK junior Jordan Hughett confided.