Release Date: August 16,2017

Pokémon GO brings exploration to downtown Akron timed with University of Akron student orientation weekend

Aug. 26 and 27 event will help students create lasting connections to the city     

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has teamed up with Niantic, Inc., the developer and publisher of Pokémon GO, to encourage Akron residents, visitors and University of Akron students to connect to the downtown neighborhood using the innovative augmented-reality experience of the popular mobile game.

Akron will give people the chance to play Pokémon GO together, meet other players and enjoy a variety of real world experiences on Aug. 26 and 27, during The University of Akron’s freshman orientation period, New Roo Weekend, which occurs just before classes begin.

Over the two-day period, the downtown corridor, already a favorite destination for fans of Pokémon GO, will include an increased number of temporary PokéStops, aligned with a map of local retailers and other downtown destinations. A dense collection of stops will connect The University of Akron to downtown attractions, encouraging players to experience the city’s easy walkability and other offerings.

The two-day event will feature programming to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical world and explore how public places can foster connections between people. Public spaces will include charging stations and seating, as well as musicians and activities, to invite person-to-person connections amidst the heightened virtual gaming environment. A variety of programming will take place across downtown including drawing sessions, vendor areas, walking tours, photo opportunities and a social media scavenger hunt.

In addition to the specialized programming, the event will encourage players to participate in other activities planned in downtown Akron that weekend, including free admission to Rubber City Jazz Festival’s Saturday night performance of Victor Provost: The “Bright Eyes” Project and Joey DeFrancesco at Lock 3. A full list of activities taking place in downtown Akron on Aug. 26 and 27 can be found at: downtownakron.com.

Niantic, Inc., the developer and publisher of Pokémon GO, and Knight Foundation recently announced a multiyear commitment to promote civic engagement in communities across the United States. These two organizations will support efforts to get citizens outside and exploring their towns through city-organized events.

“This will be such a great opportunity for new students to have some fun and explore all that downtown Akron has to offer. UA’s location and connection with Downtown Akron is one of the great benefits for students attending the University and we very much appreciate this partnership with the Knight Foundation, Downtown Akron Partnership and Niantic” said John Messina, UA vice president for student affairs.

“Akron continues to explore ways to keep and attract talent and create more downtown vibrancy. Encouraging University of Akron students to explore and interact with our city is central to this goal. Building on the popularity of Pokémon Go, this event will help showcase downtown’s many offerings at the start of the academic year, and help connect people to place,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight Foundation program director for Akron.

“Discovery and adventures on foot are at the core of Niantic’s mission in all of our games,’ said Vikram Grover, senior director of business development at Niantic, Inc. “The Knight Foundation, University of Akron and Downtown Akron Partnership have helped to curate a Pokemon GO experience in Akron that will give attendees an opportunity to explore the city like never before with fellow students and local residents.”