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Elvis Was In the Building

And without OIT's Elvis Presley Rowe, the thousands of journalists who descended on campus wouldn't have had networking services.

Campus News  |  Oct 20, 2016  |  By University Communications
Trish Harrison and Elvis Rowe speak

Trish Harrison and Elvis Rowe at the office of information technology service desk at the Thomas & Mack Center before the Presidential Debate. Sidenote: They kept the TV tuned to Star Trek and sports to avoid spurring political discussions. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

Editor's Note: 

We're so proud of the hundreds of Rebels who made the Presidential Debate a success. Over the next week, our Debate Dispatches series will highlight people from all across campus who worked together to pull off the biggest single event ever held on campus. Here's our first story.


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.