During his State of the State address in Carson City last Thursday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval addressed the Nevada Assembly in what one onlooker called “the most ambitious State of the State” that they had ever heard.
Sandoval’s plan is indeed enterprising. It includes a $7.3 billion budget, but the impact of these expansions will not only be felt in the state’s capital. Less than 32 miles north of where Sandoval held his speech, the governor’s alma mater, the University of Nevada, Reno, is undergoing an ambitious expansion of its own.
As the new semester kicks off, students should be aware that this is not only an exciting time for the state of Nevada, but also the state’s flagship institution. While taking a moment to look back at last year, and also where to improve different organizations in 2015, students need to know that now is an incredible time to invest in the university.
WHAT WENT WELL IN 2014:
GOVERNOR’S SERIES SUCCESS
Of the hiccups that Nevada athletics have had since its move to the Mountain West, the most glaring has been its anemic performances in the Governor’s Series against in-state rival UNLV. Since the competition’s inception two years ago, the Rebels have remained unbeaten in the overall points category by a combined score of 67.5 to Nevada’s 28.5. However, this year’s competition has been a complete reversal of prior years with the Wolf Pack currently boasting a six points advantage (10.5-4.5).
With a new residence hall expected to open in fall 2015, the new student achievement center to be completed in the following year and a new athletic facility to be completed within the next three years, the campus is growing at an exponential rate. While tuition and fees have been on the rise with this new construction, the amount of new programs available to students will raise the ceiling for what can be accomplished at the university. All of these construction updates are encompassed under the university’s master plan, which shows the campus eventually expanding into the downtown area by the end of the decade.
ASUN CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Last year, UNR and the Center for Student Engagement were recognized by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. The NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education chose the university as one of 92 universities to participate in the organization’s Lead Initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. The initiative targets universities that demonstrate a commitment to civic engagement and uses those universities as a model for others to follow. Considering NASPA’s membership of over 13,000 members across all 50 states, this was an honor for ASUN, especially in the association’s pursuit of achieving a Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.
WHAT CAN IMPROVE IN 2015:
SPOTTY EVENT ATTENDANCE
While Mackay Stadium’s average attendance last season was 23,862 (79 percent of the stadium’s total capacity) this is not a true tally of what went on last season. By the end of the year, the stadium looked to be about half full and many fans had left to go home by halftime. On the student engagement side, the activities during Beat UNLV Week suffered mismanagement and also poor student interaction due to the Thanksgiving holiday break.
NEW ACADEMIC INITIATIVES HAVE MIXED REVIEWS
Two academic initiatives,“15 to Finish” and the student excess credit fee, have been in existence for just under two years combined, but still have drawn many different reviews. While the two initiatives have encouraged students to use their time on campus in the most efficient way possible, many students have had to juggle these new criteria along with increasing fee rates and more demanding work schedules.
Despite the senate’s major successes in supporting gender-neutral bathrooms, assisting in the creation of student emails and registering hundreds of students to vote through Turbovote, this session has had some hiccups. Last semester two ASUN senators were censured as a result of their absences and tardiness from senate meetings. With at least one more senator in danger of being censured this semester, the senators will need to be diligent if they plan on finishing the year strong. These censures are only one example of the roller coaster year this session has had as their tenure started with the tough decision of whether to impeach the newly-elected president of ASUN, Jake Pereira, at their second meeting and losing four senators last semester.
Last year was a step in the right direction for the University of Nevada, but with an incredible amount of expansion planned, students need to buy in or possibly have the new rush of developments pass them by.
The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.