The Kress Event Center is making a comeback after COVID-19, and in a big way, not only has there been more student activity but events for students to take part in.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) had taken a hit when it came to academics and athletics during the COVID-19 outbreak. Throughout an effort to keep a sense of normalcy, UWGB has continued classes online or brought some back in person and turned other classes hybrid. There were no athletic events or competitions taking place. That was until this year, when everything started to align back to where everything was before the pandemic. Some things are still not the same such as attendance and usage, but one thing is for sure, athletics are back at UWGB. The Kress Event Center, the hub of athletics at UWGB, is fully opened up for athletes, students, and community members once again.
Before COVID-19 had gone into full swing back in 2020, the Kress Event Center was at a peak for the number of activities and events. However, when everything was shut down, there was a lack of attendance.
This year is the first year that the Kress is opened back up entirely to the community and public. Factors such as events that are happening within the facilities of the Kress, the attendance of students and fans at events, and the number of time students spend in the Kress can get back to what the building’s prime once was, or if it is plateauing due to the past of years, it has seen from COVID-19.
Alex Wandersee, the Fitness Coordinator at the Kress Event Center in the weight room facility, explains the importance of this year and how much of a difference there is from last year to this year. Alex Wandersee stated, “Every student was affected by the pandemic differently. Fitness Center participation increased naturally, but we are also shifting our focus towards mental health and how recreation benefits that.”
Not only has attendance gone up in the weight room at the Kress Event Center, but there has been an increase in the number of fans attending athletic events. Since the restrictions that COVID-19 had on all events all around the U.S. has been lifted, there is a rekindled excitement around sporting events all over, especially for the students and community members who support the UWGB athletic department. Alex Wandersee mentioned the actual numbers of students from before and during COVID-19 to this year. “Last fall, we averaged 200-350 students a day (Monday-Thursday), 1,200-1,700 a week, and about 6,000 a month. Last year, the campus was still wearing masks until March, and that affected our numbers.” Whereas this year, there were more than 350-450 students a day, about 2,000 students a week, and 6,000 a month.
Student engagement is one of UWGB’s number one priorities when it comes to the campus. Not only do students play a role in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the overall attendance of events that take place at the Kress, but they are also the backbone of the increasing attendance of audience members at these events. Jacob Trapp, a Computer Science junior, stated, “I use the weight room every day and attend almost every event on campus… This year has already been better than last year based on the number of students using the Kress.”