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Newsmakers 2016: Community Impact

A collection of news stories from 2016 highlighting UNLV's impact in Southern Nevada and beyond.

Campus News  |  Jan 3, 2017  |  By Tony Allen
visitors look at Shakespeare’s First Folio

Shakespeare’s First Folio was on display at the Lied Library this past fall. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Photo Services)

The relationship between UNLV and the local community can be summed up simply – as Southern Nevada succeeds, so too does the university. Behind this simple statement lies an exhaustive list of community partnerships, resources, and outreach programming that involve nearly every department, unit, and group at UNLV.

It’s the continued momentum of a new medical school that will directly improve our community’s health; awareness and advocacy to end sexual violence on college campuses nationwide; public health programs that tackle pesky allergy issues and major epidemics; plans to improve our neighborhoods, medical facilities and education system; and some good old-fashioned community service.

These are just a few of the many community impact stories featuring UNLV that made news in 2016.

Building a Medical School

The UNLV School of Medicine was granted preliminary accreditation in October, allowing it to accept students for a planned Summer 2017 opening. To date, more than 800 applicants are vying to be part of the 60-student charter class – all of whom will have full, four-year scholarships thanks to the generosity of so many in the community. Earlier this year, the Clark County Commission transferred nine acres in the heart of the Las Vegas Medical District to the school for its first academic building. And the community impact of its clinical programming is already being felt with an innovative new autism center.

Campus Awareness to End Sexual Violence

UNLV in January launched the latest phase of the Green Dot program, a federal effort to increase campus safety and awareness nationwide through bystander intervention trainings. In April, Vice President Joe Biden stopped at UNLV with special guest Lady Gaga to promote the "It's On Us” awareness campaign to end sexual assaults on college campuses. UNLV was one of three university sites for bi-partisan, student-focused events that will encourage attendees to commit to be part of the solution.

Fight Against HIV

From law and advocacy to health and science, UNLV faculty are forging ahead on HIV prevention, education and treatment. Community health researchers are increasing participation and treatment rates in Nigeria, and Community Health Sciences founding dean Mary Guinan shares insight from her pioneering work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Improving How We Live

From solar-powered homes to medical facilities designed with the patient in mind, UNLV is working hard to improve how we live. A team of faculty and students from the School of Architecture’s Downtown Design Center is working with residents and elected officials to redevelop Las Vegas’s historic west side.

Improving Education

UNLV’s College of Education is working closely with the Clark County School District and educators nationwide to tackle Nevada’s teacher shortage. The college hosted a panel discussion as part of a national conference in Las Vegas this spring, and in December it hosted its second Summit on Nevada Education to share ideas, challenges and lessons on how to effectively, collaboratively, and equitably improve K-12 and higher education.

Help for Allergy Sufferers

The UNLV/CCSD Pollen Monitoring Program gained attention as spring came to town early and brought seasonal allergies with it. Under the partnership, researchers at the student-run UNLV lab collect and analyze pollen and mold data from air sampler stations atop roofs on campus and at five local schools. Locals and tourists can access the information via the web to find out which allergens are likely causing their sniffles and where to avoid them. 

Shakespeare’s First Folio

For nearly 60 years, UNLV has been the cultural hub of Southern Nevada. Nearly two-thirds of UNLV’s 110,000 grads live and work in Las Vegas. And through the university’s performing arts center, museums, galleries, enrichment programs and free public lectures, many more come to UNLV each day to enjoy the best of what our community has to offer. This fall, UNLV University Libraries hosted First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, a traveling exhibition from the Folger Shakespeare Library. The First Folio, printed seven years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616, includes 36 of his plays, 18 of which had never been printed before.

Students Make a Difference

Every day in Las Vegas, UNLV students are working to make a difference. As volunteers in local classrooms and community centers, as advocates for the homeless, or as professionals offering needed legal and health services, our students combine classroom and community work to make the most of their college experience – and help Southern Nevadans along the way.

Stay Informed

Keep up with the latest UNLV newsmakers by visiting UNLV In the News