Downtown Topeka, Inc. has partnered with Washburn University to welcome incoming students to the Capital City. “Weeks of Welcome” will offer a variety of events and opportunities for all Washburn students to discover the University and the Topeka community.  To celebrate the arrival of new students, Washburn University banners will hang along Kansas Avenue, local businesses will offer discounts to students and a free back to school concert will be held on Saturday, August 28 at Evergy Plaza from 5 -9 p.m.

To celebrate the return of our students to Washburn, Downtown Topeka, Inc. and Washburn University will run a #WashburnSpirit2021 social media competition beginning August 20 through to August 27. The community is invited to share a photo on Instagram wearing their favorite Washburn gear, and use #WashburnSpirit2021 to enter. One lucky winner will receive a gift bag with prizes from downtown Topeka merchants and Washburn University.

“Downtown Topeka is excited to welcome Washburn University students back to our community,” said Rhiannon Friedman, president of Downtown Topeka, Inc. “Our merchants are ready to roll out the ‘blue carpet treatment’ to our students and Washburn staff as they discover everything our historic downtown has to offer them.”

“Our Forge Young Talent team is thrilled to offer a new music festival, Forge Fest 2021to Washburn students during ‘Welcome Week,’” said Del-Metrius Herron, chair of Forge Young Talent. “Southwest Publishing and Washburn University sponsorship has enabled us to bring Familiar, one of the hottest bands in Kansas City, to Evergy Plaza on August 28.  Washburn alumni Josh Vowell, will open the concert and we will have beer gardens, food trucks and yard games. I believe it will really show new students what Topeka has to offer them.”

“Washburn University has been a key part of the Topeka community since our founding and one cannot exist without the other,” said Dr. Jerry Farley, president, Washburn University, “We want our students to appreciate our hometown like we do and get to know some of the great things Topeka has to offer. Perhaps students will remain here after graduation and make Topeka their home.”



Downtown Topeka, Inc. is a non-profit operating under the Greater Topeka Partnership. Its mission is to ensure that Topeka’s downtown is the center of a thriving regional economy through recruiting, retaining and engaging commercial, cultural and residential opportunities. Visit


The Greater Topeka Partnership promotes economic prosperity and community wellness in Topeka and Shawnee County. Entities within the Partnership include the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Visit Topeka, Downtown Topeka, Inc. and GO Topeka. Visit