By Elizabeth Wyant


Photo Illustration by Zak Brady

It is the same as every morning — you blearily blink your eyes open, hope you finished all your homework the night before, wonder what is going to be served for breakfast and try to remember the newest Quidditch maneuver from practice the night before. Wait a minute. Your mind suddenly snaps back to reality.

You roll over in your lofted extra-long twin bed and wish it was an extravagant four-poster bed. You wish that you could have stayed in your pleasant dreams of Hogwarts for a few moments longer, but instead you are dragged back into regular college life.

Pretty much every kid who grew up reading the Harry Potter series has longed to take the Hogwarts Express to learn about magic. It’s always disappointing to reread the books or marathon the movies and have to return to daily life learning about boring muggle subjects like math, economics and chemistry.

The University of Nevada, Reno, might not seem magical on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper, it’s not as different from Hogwarts as it seems.

Every Hogwarts first year gets lost at least once wandering around the giant castle with its moving staircases and hidden corridors. It’s plenty easy to get lost around UNR too, even if you’ve been here for years.

You never know what you might discover — hopefully you won’t stumble upon a three-headed dog, but you could find a gold-plated drinking fountain, a graffiti-filled stairwell or even bookshelves that move like magic (really!).

Hermione used her time turner to travel back in time for extra classes. UNR students can walk back in time to the half-historical, half-fantasy steampunk-themed restaurant The Works, just a few moments from the Joe. If you keep an eye out, you might even see the N and Wolf Pack logos magically appear on your waffle!

House pride is huge at Hogwarts. It’s rare to find a student walking around without a colored scarf or their uniform embroidered with their house crest. It’s the same at Nevada. At least half of the people you see walking around campus are wearing silver and blue, proudly showing off their school spirit.

Speaking of house (or WolfPack) pride, football is the closest thing we have to Quidditch in terms of spirit — die-hard fans brave the elements every game. During Beat UNLV Week, students are more than willing to get in a fight with anyone who claims to support the other team. A fight breaks out over Quidditch pretty much every year at Hogwarts too. Sports are a passionate subject whether muggle or magical.

Just like Hermione, Ron and Harry, there are students of all calibers here at UNR. The Hermiones constantly study, show up to every class and ace every exam. The students who show up late if they go at all and wait until the morning of to do their homework are Rons. The Harrys care about school to an extent but don’t bother with it too much when there are so many other responsibilities to worry about, like Quidditch and fighting Voldemort — or jobs and extracurriculars if you’re a muggle.

The most responsible students are made prefects and help enforce the rules and guide the younger students — RAs, anyone? The dorms themselves are like house common rooms, with everyone hanging out in the lounges and flitting from room to room. Greek life is similar to houses too. Each chapter has its own values and new members join based on how well they match those ideals.

Just like Hogwarts, there are all sorts of professors at Nevada. You have the Snapes, who constantly call on unassuming students and snap at them when they answer incorrectly. You might run into a few Lockharts who won’t stop talking about their lives and accomplishments long enough to cover the material. The Lupins engage every student and do their best to have fun lessons. It’s always great to get a professor who is crazily passionate about their subject, like Hagrid. And the McGonagalls are strict, but know what they are doing and expect you to put in the work it takes to learn.

So the next time you wish you were learning about charms instead of psychology, just remember: Nevada has magic too; you just have to choose to see it.

Elizabeth Wyant studies business. She can be reached at or on Twitter at @myimagination7.