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Upcoming Events

Regional Conference
San Diego State University

The 2018 Regional Conference is tentatively scheduled for November at San Diego State University. More information will be coming soon!

Ten-Year Anniversaries for Two Nevada Universities Celebrated at Student Unions

University of Nevada–Las Vegas

The Student Union on the University of Nevada–Las Vegas campus, built in 2007, reached its 10th year as the facility where students meet, socialize, study, eat, debate, and even rest. The Student Union has hosted many well-known talents and dignitaries including Carrot Top, Margaret Cho, and Barack Obama.

The 10th anniversary celebration saw more than 2,000 attendees sampling more than 15,000 pieces/package foods and petting baby goats. The Student Union is busy, serving a student population of 22,000 within 160,000-square-feet of meeting/gathering space. Space is limited and competitive. However, a solution may be on the horizon.

Jon Tucker, director of the Student Union and Event Services Department, arrived in 2013 from the University of Oregon. In his short tenure, he has recognized and identified the need for more space, specifically, properly assigned and used space. Meeting rooms, study lounges, multipurpose rooms, a larger ballroom, student organization offices, and programmatic areas are many of the missing components of the Student Union.

Tucker has begun researching what it will take to expand the Student Union by an additional 80,000 to 150,000 square feet. Some initial ideas include the addition of more food options (a food court, a dining commons and a pub-style restaurant), a larger multi-functional ballroom overlooking the Las Vegas strip, and adding the campus bookstore. When asked why now, he responded, “We want a space that is flexible to meet the needs of our users now and 10 years from now.”

Initial interest on the idea of an expansion has been met with positive support from students, campus leadership, and the community, who welcome the opportunity to continue collaborating with the institution. As focus groups and surveys assessing student and community interest continue, the celebration of the Student Union’s 25th anniversary is just around the corner.

Caroline Crawford
University of Nevada–Reno

In northern Nevada, the Joe Crowley Student Union proudly opened its doors on November 16, 2007, at the land-grant University of Nevada–Reno. The 167,000-square-foot facility aptly sits in the heart of the campus. Affectionately known to the students as “The Joe,” the facility was originally built for 16,000 students, but serves more than 21,000 students today.

Chuck Price joined the university in 1994 as the director of Jot Travis Student Union. Within six months, he created a vision for a new student union in a new heart of campus. Under his leadership as the director of the Joe Crowley Student Union, the union became the new center of campus life, heavily utilized by students, campus members, and the local community. The impressive architecture inspired new construction surrounding it, including a library—the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center—and the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center. Price stated, “Two critical virtues to success in the Student Union field are patience and persistence. We may not initially achieve our vision, but if we keep our ‘eyes on the prize’ and continue to collaborate with colleagues, we can share in prodigious accomplishments.”

Ten years later, “The Joe” is no longer a new building on campus but a familiar place to students. The week-long celebration included cake, bounce houses, free meal vouchers, and prizes. The Crowley family even attended and spoke at the cake-cutting event.

The university’s student population has grown significantly since construction—more than 28%. The student union team felt the impact, especially the need for more meeting and event spaces. They conducted an expansion study that included an assessment of the student body’s impression. Surprisingly, students did not feel a need to expand the student union because the facility still felt new and did not warrant a renovation.

Instead of an expansion, the team is focused on repurposing existing spaces creatively to meet the demands for more meeting and lounge spaces and increasing outdoor seating. Capital improvement planning has certainly helped maintain the facility’s facade.

Standing Torch of Wisdom