A Las Vegas event isn’t complete without at least one Elvis Presley, and the 2016 UNLV Presidential Debate is no exception. But Elvis Presley Rowe is more likely to be found carrying network cable behind a stage than caught with a microphone on one.
The computer lab manager for UNLV’s office of information technology (OIT) usually can be found coordinating services for three open-use labs, eight classroom labs, and assisting with the Learning Resource Center and Writing Center on campus. In the debate hall, however, you could easily mistake him for a network engineer. Over the past three weeks, Rowe has helped build and set up miles of network cable throughout the Media Center, Debate Hall, Tech Desk, and individual offices throughout the Thomas & Mack complex.
Rowe’s work hasn’t just been to provide networking service to the media descending on campus; he’s part of extending UNLV’s educational mission into the Debate Hall. Between donning a headlamp to pull network cables in the dark behind the bleacher seats in Cox Pavilion, Rowe has also mentored student workers on the professional aspects of setting up a large network, including giving hands-on lessons on assembling ethernet cables.
“My favorite moment of working the debate, hands down, has to be catching a student worker taking a selfie with the ethernet cable she just made. She was really proud of her work” said Rowe, ’11 BS Management Information Systems. For the debate support crew, changes like adding spaces and creating an overflow media center require everything from setting up additional network cables and wireless access points to re-labeling cables for yet another time.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” said Rowe. “The hardest part has been dealing with the constant change."
Ultimately, it is this attention to detail that helped ensure smooth operations as OIT, including a real-life Elvis Presley, prepared to provide network access to the thousands of journalists who were on campus.