R. Marsh Starks / UNLV Photo Services
Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 | 6 p.m.
There’s no way UNLV President Len Jessup could have met every student moving into the university’s dorms this week, but he made a valiant effort, scurrying in and out of dorm rooms with gifts of soda and pizza.
“I’m just thrilled that we’re full up,” he said on Wednesday, taking a momentary break from the heat outside Dayton Hall, the college’s freshman dorm complex.
It’s a tradition for the UNLV president to spend a few hours helping students move into the dorms before school starts. But as enrollment and the number of students living on campus continue to grow at a record pace each year, it’s getting harder and harder to be everywhere at once.
Nearly 1,800 students are living on campus this year, the highest number in UNLV’s history. Every dorm room in the school is occupied, and the school is welcoming the largest freshman class for the fourth consecutive year.
The residence halls on the campus' south side are a hive of activity this week, with dozens of students arriving each day with their families to unload furniture and, if lucky, meet their new roommate. Many swarmed around Jessup at the first sight of a pizza box. Most didn’t even know who he was.
“Hi! I’m Len,” he said while handing out slices of cheese and pepperoni. “Welcome.”
Enrollment at UNLV now sits at around 29,000. Approximately 75 percent of the incoming class of 4,000 is from Clark County, but only 25 percent of those who live on campus are from Nevada. A large number of those who live on campus are from California, Arizona and Hawaii. The university attributes the steady growth to an aggressive recruitment campaign.
“It’s a combination of price, tuition discounts and our reputation is just improving,” Jessup said.
To make more space, the university recently bought an apartment complex on the north side of campus. Those dorms won’t be finished until 2017 though, according to UNLV.
But a lot has changed since last year. The college’s law school building has been renovated, making room for a number of departments, including the Honors College. According to UNLV, patents have tripled in the past two years and more than 90 new professors have been hired in fields like engineering, health sciences and education.
Just this month, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid announced $1 million in grants for the state’s colleges, including $331,000 to bolster academic advising among other campus services.
Classes start on Monday at UNLV, but for now students are still getting situated.
“This is pretty fun,” Jessup said. “They’re all just so energized.”