Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2017

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UNLV dorms open for massive influx of students

Incoming freshmen share dreams, dreads about college life


Leila Navidi

Joyden Manalo of Hawaii helps move his son Jordan’s things into Tonopah Complex during residence hall move-in day at UNLV in Las Vegas on Thursday, August 23, 2012.

Top states sending students to UNLV

  • 1. Nevada
  • 2. California
  • 3. Hawaii
  • 4. Washington
  • 5. Colorado
  • Source: UNLV

Top countries sending international students to UNLV

  • 1. China
  • 2. South Korea
  • 3. Taiwan
  • 4. (tie) Brazil and Japan
  • Source: UNLV

UNLV stirred awake from its summer slumber earlier this week as it welcomed more than 1,200 freshmen into its dormitories.

Armed with suitcases, bedding materials and bicycles, students from near and far are moving into UNLV's four dorms this week.

Freshmen were the first to gain access, with a move-in day Thursday. Their family members — toting cameras and choking back tears — bid them farewell as their now-adult children begin the next stage of their lives: college.

Richard Clark, who already had comforted one crying mother, surveyed the growing crowd of students waiting to move into Dayton Hall. For UNLV's director of housing and residential life, this scene represented a much-welcomed departure from the past several years.

During the recession, many local students lived at home and commuted to campus to save costs. Consequently, UNLV closed one of its dorms and used part of a second dorm for conferences.

Now, with the economy rebounding, students are flocking back to campus housing. This year, UNLV is expecting its largest incoming freshman class.

To accommodate 1,650 residents in campus housing — an increase of about 500 students from a year ago — UNLV reopened all of its dorms and hired a dozen additional residential assistants for the fall 2013 semester. For the first time in six years, UNLV has a waiting list of about 100 students for its dormitories, Clark said.

"We're packed," he said. "We're over capacity. It's a nice problem to have."

UNLV recently announced plans for Midtown Park, an apartment-style dormitory project that could add nearly 3,000 beds to campus. As UNLV tries to transition from a commuter campus to a residential college, building new student housing will become a priority, Clark said.

"We need more housing, but we need more modern housing," he said. "Midtown Park has huge potential to be a game-changer for us."

The Sun interviewed six freshmen about their feelings about starting college. Here's what they had to say:

    • Mari Reeve, 18, political science major from San Diego

      The thing I'm most excited about: "I'm excited to dive into political studies and get a good start on my career. I want to work at an embassy after I graduate."

      The thing I'm most nervous about: "It's weird, but I have 20 pets. They're like my world. I'll miss them. I'm also worried I'll ruin my clothes in the laundry."

      Why I chose UNLV: "It was actually the last school I applied to. The campus is beautiful and I have family nearby. I like the heat. I'm a desert-y person."

    • Casey Barber, 18, biological sciences major from Las Vegas

      The thing I'm most excited about: "I'm most excited about being in UNLV's Honors College. The community there is interested in helping me succeed academically."

      The thing I'm most nervous about: "I'm nervous about the readings and the homework load. The Meadows School was pretty hard, but this is college. It helps that my mom works on campus."

      Why I chose UNLV: "UNLV is a great school. It helps that my scholarship is paying for all the fees and the cost of living here."

    • Jaron Hall-Monis, 18, radiology major from Oahu, Hawaii

      The thing I'm most excited about: "I'm excited to see how college life is and see if I'm responsible enough to make it on my own."

      The thing I'm most nervous about: "I'm just nervous about college coursework. It's way harder than high school. Hopefully I can handle that."

      Why I chose UNLV: "I chose UNLV because it was one of the closest schools to Hawaii and my auntie and uncle live here."

    • Ashanti Jones, 17, psychology major from the San Francisco Bay area

      The thing I'm most excited about: "Being independent and venturing out into the world and continuing my education."

      The thing I'm most nervous about: "I don't have any family out here. All of my family is in California."

      Why I chose UNLV: "I chose UNLV because of all the schools I applied to, it was the closest one and I liked the psych department."

    • Austin Kearns, 18, computer science major from Henderson

      The thing I'm most excited about: "Starting a new life, meeting new people and new friends. I'll have freedom but responsibilities, too."

      The thing I'm most nervous about: "I'm in the ocean, alone, swimming. I'm nervous to see if I'll sink or swim. I don't want to slip up my grades."

      Why I chose UNLV: "I've heard a lot of good things about UNLV. It seemed like the right place to go."

    • Tingzhao Ming, 17, hospitality major from China

      The thing I'm most excited about: "I'm excited for my classes and meeting new friends."

      The thing I'm most nervous about: "I was an exchange student for 10 months in Alaska, but the culture here is different than Alaska and China."

      Why I chose UNLV: "UNLV is the best school in the U.S. for hospitality."

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