Andrea Wilkinson/Nevada Sagebrush
Great Basin Hall as it stands in Aug. 2018. The new residence hall is expanding opportunities for STEM majors.

Despite moving into the dorm less than a month ago, residents of Great Basin Hall have expressed positive feelings regarding the new dorm at the Great Basin Bash.

Residents of Great Basin Hall were invited to the Great Basin Bash to celebrate the hall’s opening. The event included games, food and opportunities to talk with residential life as a way to introduce the hall to the university’s campus.

“It’s such a welcoming environment,” first-year student Angela Faith Herrera said. “Being such an introverted person I felt motivated to expand my comfort zone. I was able to make a lot of new friends. Everyone wanted to start fresh and that is what I wanted.”  

Great Basin was created for students who are a declared Science, Technology, Engineering and Math major or education major with a minor in STEM. Everything in the hall has a STEM-related focus, according to Peter Gatto, Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Life.

“It’s a very popular and in-demand field,” Gatto said. “A lot of different organizations and entities are looking for individuals with STEM-related backgrounds.”

Students who are in Women in Science and Engineering must have met a certain core math and core writing requirements prior to being accepted to the residence hall. Students accepted to the program must take Science 110 in the fall and Science 120 in the spring. Classes are catered to members of the program and consist of roughly 35 students, according to WISE member Kaleigh Quinlan.

“What I really like about WISE and being situated in Great Basin is I am surrounded by like-minded people who are interested in stem-related careers in the future,” Herrera said.

The WISE program that used to occupy the fifth floor of the Learning Living Community was moved to Great Basin. WISE and the Engineering programs in the LLC have been replaced by programs catered to students with Hispanic Cultural Heritage and/or identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer +. Students accepted into the program are automatically placed in Great Basin.

The hall features the only 24-hour computer lab on campus, an innovation lab and is being equipped with “smart” technology. Amenities are only available for the approximately 400 residents in the hall.  In order to live in Great Basin, there is no grade point average requirement other than a 2.0 GPA set by Residential Life, Housing and food services for all housing on campus.

Great Basin also has a total of eight resident assistants, three academic mentors and six peer leaders in order to help students get acclimated to STEM, according to Gatto.

“So far we are 2 weeks in and we already had five different floor events,” Quinlan said. “Just every single RA, not just our RA, will see us and try to make conversation, ask how we are doing and just ask if we are okay.”

Andrew Mendez can be reached at oali@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush