Students get a taste of downtown Cedar Falls

Students at Panthers on Main

University of Northern Iowa students were welcomed to downtown Cedar Falls with open arms during the Panthers on Main event Sept. 21.

Coordinated by the UNI Student Involvement and Activities Center and Cedar Falls Community Main Street. Panthers on Main is a way for UNI students to explore and connect with downtown Cedar Falls.

"The event helps students learn more about the broader Cedar Falls community," said Kristin Woods, UNI coordinator of new student programs. "Downtown Cedar Falls is a great place to visit, and many students have indicated that they weren't aware of the wide variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment options downtown until much later in their college experience. We're excited about partnering with Community Main Street to help in

crease student awareness about this vibrant part of our city."

Students were picked up in vehicles outside of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center and were dropped off directly on Main Street. They were then allowed to freely explore downtown Cedar Falls restaurants, shops and entertainment. Music was provided by The Hub all afternoon.  T.C. also made an appearance, tossing out high fives and free T-shirts.

Students also participated in a scavenger hunt that involved various stores and restaurants on Main Street. They were given clues about the businesses such as, "start your morning here before your daily grind." Once they uncovered the clue, they had to get a signature from someone inside the store or restaurant. Students who completed the scavenger hunt were entered into a drawing for prizes, including a $100 gift certificate to be used in any Community Main Street business.

Jenn Andrews, a freshman theatre education major, got a view of downtown Cedar Falls for the first time during Panthers on Main.

"It's a lot of fun," Andrews said. "I like the activities that we're doing. It's fun to meet new people, and I can't wait to get my picture taken with T.C."

Andrews was pleasantly surprised by all that downtown Cedar Falls has to offer.

"I hope the girls and I come back a few more times," she said. "I think (Panthers on Main) is a great event for us to learn how to find our way around downtown, especially for the freshman."

Michelle Wilke, a freshman social work and psychology major, also felt the event was a fun way to explore downtown.

"I don't really know about things on Main Street, so this helps me see all the stores and what they have to offer," she said.