To say it’s been a year of uncertainty would be giving 2022 too much credit – it’s been a whole lot more than that. War, inflation, elections, drought, and supply-chain hiccups are only a few of the issues that have been impacting us globally – and there’s a good deal to reflect on.
Before tiptoeing into a new year with refreshed optimism for positive change, let’s take a look at some of the year’s biggest challenges and how our campus reacted.
Economic Ebbs and Flows
The ripples of an economically shaky year have led to changes in our spending, but that uncertainty has not been having much of an impact on Southern Nevada’s economy. Casinos are still seeing record gaming win, and the Valley’s anticipated to experience tremendous growth in the years ahead.
- Amanda Belarmino, a hospitality professor and consumer behavior expert, talked about the influence of inflation on holiday shopping, travel, dining, tipping, and gifting.
CNBC, News Nation, Fox 5 Vegas (twice) (thrice) (four times), KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, Travel Weekly, Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Gaming historian David G. Schwartz chimed in on the rise in casino profits despite inflation.
Associated Press, KSNV-TV: News 3, Legit Gambling, KSNV-TV: News 3
- The Lee Business School’s Center for Business and Economic Research director Andrew Woods and research director Stephen Miller gave insight on jobs, inflation, tourism, and holiday season predictions.
Vegas Inc, Finnish Broadcasting Company, KSNV-TV: News 3, KVVU-TV: Fox 5 Vegas, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice) (thrice) (four times), Nevada Independent, KNPR, Casino.org
Can You Dig It?
Society’s reliance on modern technology – along with the supply chain disruptions brought on by COVID – have made Nevada even more integral. Mining critical metals is mandatory to keep up with our need for touch screens, cell phones, computers, electric vehicles, and just about everything else.
- Simon Jowitt, professor in economic geology, discussed the important use of magnets and how that applies to mining in The Las Vegas Review-Journal and El Tiempo. He also spoke to the BBC, High Country News, KALA Radio, CBC Radio, OilPrice.com, and Highways Today about the future of mining.
- Jowitt and CBER director Andrew Woods were featured in a KVVU-TV: Fox 5 Vegas piece on lithium mining and Nevada’s role in America’s energy future. Jowitt also spoke to Mongabay about the potential for LED lights to contribute to carbon reductions, and with Newsweek about fossil fuels.
- Tellurium — a popular new choice for constructing solar panels — is another big-ticket critical metal, but its amounts are rarely reported in mining operations. So, Jowitt and his colleagues developed a way to estimate tellurium content globally: EcoWatch, Qubit, De Tijd
Out of this World
Never before has our universe felt so small! This is thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope’s high-resolution imagery and advances made in our understanding of the harsh conditions that await us outside of Earth.
- Mechanical engineering student Kristen Tagaytayan’s research could help NASA put a probe on Venus, AZoM reports.
- Astrophysicist Jason Steffen provided the Las Vegas Sun with commentary on new images from the James Webb Telescope; explained the significance of NASA’s Artemis launch via Gizmodo, Science Times, and KSNV-TV: News 3; and spoke to USA Today (twice) and Reuters about the flat-earth conspiracy theory. Additionally, Steffen's airplane boarding method was featured on CNN (twice).
- Eos interviewed geoscientist Arya Udry about Martian meteorites.
War Never Changes
War broke out in Europe for the first time since WWII, adding to the economic strife many Americans felt – particularly at the pump. With Cold War tensions rekindled, other nations are continuing to watch how the world reacts to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including China regarding Taiwan.
- Political scientist Austin Horng-En Wang shared his expertise on Taiwan-China tensions with CNN and the U.S.’s role with the Washington Post, Politico, CNBC, and TV Europa.
- Travel expert and Honors College professor Dan Bubb explained to Smarter Travel, Newsy, and Yahoo (via KTNV) why the war — and decreased access to Russian oil supplies and air space — would result in increased gas prices and air travel costs. He also spoke to Popular Mechanics about the impact of sanctions on air travel abroad.
- Times Higher Education, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now and KSNV-TV: News 3 showcased the debut of a new Ukrainian crisis class taught by history professor Paul Werth. The Nevada Independent also covered the course, as well as a panel organized by history professors to explore the war’s origins.
- Political scientist Christian Jensen participated in a KNPR roundtable discussion about the ways the U.S. might assist those fleeing Ukraine.
- Newsweek and Agence France-Presse called on Brookings Mountain West disinformation researcher Mary Blankenship to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war and Kenyan election.
Battle at the Ballots
Throughout the world, eyes were fixated on the American midterm election cycle – with Nevada’s race an influencer for the rest of the country. The importance of the Latino vote became a global question for political scientist John P. Tuman from:
VRT News Belgium, Deutsche Welle, Finnish Broadcasting Company, The Telegraph UK, Radio Canada, Fox News, Washington Post, The Economist, Swiss Info, Telemundo Dallas, EFE, Latin Times, Le Point International
Political scientists David Damore, Dan Lee, and Kenneth Miller lended their own expertise on the issues concerning the midterms. Lee spoke to Gray D.C. and USA Today about the Latino vote and Nevada’s position in controlling Congress. Damore talked to Governing, CNN, and Vox concerning rural voters, public opinion of Republicans, and the partisan primary. Meanwhile, Miller’s comments were featured in the New York Times and Bloomberg regarding Nevada’s Senate race and how control of Congress is drowning out local issues for Americans everywhere.
Another divisive topic was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to abolish Roe v. Wade, compromising the ability and protections in place for abortions. Health law program director David Orentlicher and political scientist Rebecca Gill offered context.
- Rebecca Gill: Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice), Yahoo!, KTNV-TV: ABC 13, Pahrump Valley Times
- David Orentlicher: MSN, KNPR, Casino.org, Las Vegas Review-Journal, KSNV-TV: News 3
Publications also wanted to hear more about the topics of climate change, the economy, and impacts of political ads on our mental health.
Inside Climate News, U.S. News & World Report, Politifact, CNN (twice), The Guardian UK, Newsweek, Yahoo!, Five Thirty Eight, Univision, PBS NewsHour, Las Vegas Sun, Glam
Surgeon General’s Warning
Just before the start of the fall semester, UNLV became a smoke-free campus. The School of Public Health led the effort, banning all forms of smoking, tobacco and marijuana use, and unregulated nicotine products on all UNLV properties.
Outlets including KSNV-TV: News 3, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, KTNV-TV: ABC 13, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the Nevada Independent outlined the new initiative.
- Teacher union expert Brad Marianno was featured in interviews discussing everything from a union that brought affirmative action into its layoff practices, to teacher strikes in places including Seattle and Minnesota, to politics surrounding rising teacher salaries and the impact of flu outbreaks on learning.
Education Week, USA Today, Associated Press, Politico, The 19th News, The 74 Million, Yahoo, Minnesota Public Radio, Chalkbeat (twice), Associated Press, Vox (twice), Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, K-12 Dive
- College of Education dean Danica G. Hays wrote a Las Vegas Sun guest column about innovative UNLV programs aimed at attracting more teachers to the profession.
- UNLV’s College of Education has created a solution that allows open teaching positions in CCSD to be filled by individuals who are already working in local schools with the Paraprofessional Pathways Project.
Las Vegas Review-Journal, KVVU-TV: Fox 5, Telemundo Las Vegas, KLAS-TV: 8 News Now, KTNV-TV: ABC 13
Capital City of Sports
Every year, Las Vegas becomes more ubiquitous with sports. And now, the city finally has its first championship under its belt with the WNBA’s Aces. Plus, Las Vegas is making sports history with the Raiders hiring the NFL’s first black female team president, pushing the importance of women in sports. Not to mention the NFL draft, heightened sports betting, and an F-1 race on the horizon.
- Sports Research and Innovation Initiative co-director Nancy Lough was featured in the New York Times regarding ways the 50-year-old Title IX law changed Congress, campuses, and sports. She also spoke to Healthline, Newsy, Star Tribune, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, and KNX Radio about the barriers women in sports still face.
- Brett Abarbanel, director of research at the International Gaming Institute, provided insight to NBC News and Gambling.com about record turnout for Super Bowl betting in Las Vegas, along with video game esports possibly becoming the next big sports betting sensation. Alan Feldman, a Distinguished Fellow in Responsible Gambling, spoke to News 4 NBC New York and KNPR about problem gambling phone centers answering a higher volume of calls than ever before, and where the ‘fun economy’ of Las Vegas is heading.
- History professor Michael Green and International Gaming Institute executive director Bo Bernhard also joined the New York Times to talk about Las Vegas hosting the NFL draft.
- Hospitality professor Amanda Belarmino was interviewed on the tourism impact of events such as the NFL draft by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (twice).
- In her second year as UNLV women’s basketball coach, Lindy LaRocque was highlighted by Las Vegas Weekly for her outstanding work – including leading the team to victory in the Mountain West Conference and to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years. The Las Vegas Sun also shared Coach LaRocque’s views on the significance of Title IX for generations of women.
Drought, Climate, and Lake Mead
The eyes of the world were glued to Lake Mead and the water supply in the Southwest. Record lows, water allowance cuts, body discoveries with possible ties to the mafia, and the myriad ‘what-if’ scenarios created a surplus of media attention.
A global heat wave in July sent temperatures soaring into the triple digits in cities with historically mild summers. And as water reservoirs dried up, our experts were consistently called upon to talk about sustainability, changing course, and alternative solutions.
- Paleoclimatologist and geoscience department chair Matthew Lachniet added context to Good Morning America, ABC News, Fox News, and Yahoo! pieces about the record-low water levels at Lake Mead. He also spoke to ABC News about the heat wave hitting cities around the globe and to KRDO-TV about the Colorado River crisis.
- In an essay for the Nevada Independent, William S. Boyd School of Law senior fellow and adjunct professor Frank Fritz wrote about the ways building performance standards can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help us save water, energy, and money.
- Architecture professor and sustainability expert Steffen Lehmann similarly spoke of the potential positive impact of solar power and changes to construction materials and blueprints on the Silver State’s climate crisis during a KNPR panel discussion.
- After multiple bodies were found in Lake Mead, history professor Michael Green spoke to The Guardian and Patch; gaming historian David G. Schwartz chimed in on Casino.org; and forensic anthropologist Jennifer Byrnes was quoted by The New York Times, CBS News, National Geographic En Español, Business Insider, and Yahoo!. Byrnes also offered insight to Insider for a story about drought revealing an old city in Iraq, and the article was picked up by Yahoo!.
Learn about UNLV news as it happens at UNLV In the News.