Road to the Dome

Since the beginning of November, the University of Northern Iowa has been alive with the hustle and bustle of high school students visiting for the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) football playoffs. It's an exciting time of year, and UNI is doing many things to cater to the extra students and families on campus.

Football playoffs
The UNI-Dome has been home to the IHSAA football championship games since it was built in 1976.

At the UNI-Dome, there is a mobile admissions center where prospective students and families can talk with UNI students, admissions counselors, and faculty and staff. Each day, there is a picture-taking contest and raffle for gift cards to University Book & Supply and other opportunities to win free UNI gear.

"Tens of thousands if not a hundred thousand Iowans will be at UNI and in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, and it is our job to make sure they have the best experience possible while here," said Jordan Bancroft-Smithe, special projects coordinator for the playoffs. "It's also an opportunity for the university to talk about what we are and what we are good at to a large audience."

At the mobile admissions center, prospective students can also meet with current students in specific colleges at UNI. For instance, some of the student volunteers at the playoffs are a part of the Social and Behavioral Representatives (SABR) program through the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (CSBS).

"Our service at these games is as a team of representatives who want to highlight the natural benefits that UNI provides," said Richard Featherstone, interim associate dean of CSBS. "CSBS has students who genuinely love to serve the community, and the hospitality that we provide at these games is an example of the heart we have for Iowa."

The UNI Alumni Association is hosting an Alumni Hospitality Suite throughout the playoffs. At the suite, alumni can talk with College of Education faculty, Alumni Association staff and President Ruud. "Alumni are often our greatest advocates, and it is important to keep as many of them as possible up to date on current events here at UNI," Bancroft-Smithe added.

Earlier this year, it was announced that UNI and the IHSAA agreed to a five-year extension of the contract for the playoffs to be held at the UNI-Dome, which will run through the 2017 season. The Dome has hosted the championship games since it was built in 1976 and the semifinal rounds since 1998.

"The University of Northern Iowa is proud to continue our long-standing relationship with the IHSAA and its member Iowa high schools," remarked Ruud. "The UNI-Dome is the ultimate destination for thousands of high school football players, their coaches, family and friends."

The championship round of playoffs will take place Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21 and 22, at the UNI-Dome.