Plants have been uprooted and boulders moved from sections of the demonstration garden in preparation for construction to begin on the on-campus president’s house next May. The process began on Oct. 6, when a private landscaper who declined to identify himself began clearing out the northern part of the garden with a large backhoe.
According to Dianne Severance, director of grants and sponsor programs, the administration has been working with the original founders of the garden to extend and improve the demonstration garden. Severance says they plan to get all of the new plants in the ground before winter hits so that they can go into a state of hibernation and have a better chance of remaining healthy in the spring.
Severance also states that the section being cleared is the intended site for the president’s house and they intend to begin construction in May.
In a Sept. 11, 2014, issue of The Eagle’s Eye, President Lynn Gillette stated that “everything that is planned for in the master plan is tentative, including a house for the president”.
According to Gillette the president’s house will be used to entertain visitors to the college, hold fundraising functions and market to prospective students looking for a school with a president who involved on campus.
Junior and senior Sierra Nevada College students gathered at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, and 1 p.m. on Sept. 26 in the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences (TCES) to partake in the mandatory Junior Proficiency Exam.
The Junior Proficiency Exam is test offered every semester that every student is required to pass in order to graduate.
Students are allotted a two-hour period in which they must formulate a structured argument to a proposed question. Although college students tend to not exude delight over any test, this exam in particular has some SNC students questioning its relevance.
“I believe that this exam has been put into place without a purpose,” said Junior Austin Smith. “If we made it this far in our educational career, then I think the majority of students can write a college level essay.”
While many students didn’t complain about writing a test, some were still disappointed with the timing of the test.
“I really didn’t like how the timing of the test was set up,” said Junior Marco Gooding. “One test was set up during the time most students had class and the other was set up on Friday at 1 p.m. It wastes the day that we have off because it’s in the middle of the day.”
For most students this was the first and hopefully last time they take the Junior Proficiency Exam.
Students who ignored the reminder emails regarding the test are in for rude awakening. Those who missed the exam will not only have a hold placed on their student account, but they will also not be able to register for classes next semester and be hit with a $100 no-show fee.
“I am not too happy that I have to write the exam next year. At home we already had to take a literacy test back in high school to ensure that we could read and write at an academic level,” said international Sophomore Grant Furlan. “We got accepted to this school based off our grades from high school. I think that this is really a pointless exam because if we can’t write an exam at this level then we really need help with our education system.”
In spirit of Sierra Nevada College’s ‘entrepreneurial thinking’ core theme, the Jâlé and Warren Trepp Innovative Idea competition encourages all students to pursue their potential business ideas.
The third annual Jale Warren Innovative Idea Pitch competition will take place at 5 p.m Oct. 9th, at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences room 139-141. Potential cash prizes consist of: first place $500; second place $250; and third place $150. This competition is the second stage of Innovative Idea events, which potentially lead to national level events.
At the beginning of school year, the Jâlé and Warren Trepp Innovative Idea Competition encourages students who have business ideas that fix problems, and its a way for them to get feedback on their idea. Lots of students participate in this competition through their classes; such as ENTP 200, ENTP 400, and Creative Entrepreneurial Thinking, according to Kendra Wong, associate professor and chair of the Business department.
The department asked students to submit their initial entry through a three minute video displaying their pitch by Oct. 3. This video needed to showcase their business model canvas and how they believe their business would be structured. This would include their preliminary research on customers, revenue and business model. These videos were then run through a judging process to decide who would move on to the Jâlé and Warren Trepp Innovative Idea competition. Once accepted to move forward with the competition, students will get feedback from mentors, judges, and business faculty members in developing a full business plan and go into the business competition season.
“Throughout the years the food has become increasingly better,” Resident Assistant Ashley White said. “The addition of Truckee Bagels last year and the new produce company this year has changed how I view cafeteria food.”
The school cafeteria receives its food from Sodexo, a food management service, and started a new partnership this year with Fresh Point, a produce company from Turlock, California.
Zendner has been working for Sierra Nevada College since 2007.
“We’re using Sodexo’s ‘ideas’ but implementing different ingredients. Fresh Point offers us more organic produce and a lot more variety in the produce that we can order, as opposed to before when we had the same apples, same bananas, you know just the same stuff every time,” Zendner said. “I am now able to get ahold of plums, nectarines, pears and different things like that.” Zendner admits that although Fresh Point has helped improve cafeteria food, there are still some pushes to be made.
“I’ve been really getting after the produce company because there has been some stuff I haven’t liked. I’m trying not to just accept everything they send and make sure that it is actually good stuff,” Zendner said.
The Student Government Association will be holding a student forum at 7 p.m. Oct. 15, in room 106 of the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences to discuss any issue that has invoked student concern on campus.
According to Marina McCoy, SGA sustainability chair, the forum was organized to provoke campus dialogue regarding the building of a president’s house on campus, but will also address any other issue that the students would like to bring into discussion.
“If you’re a student, bring questions that you want asked,” McCoy said. “Important administrative people will be there: faculty, staff, SGA. If you have a question come and bring it.”
Those likely to attend include President Lynn Gillette; Shannon Beets, executive vice president and provost; Director of Facilities Brian Schultes; Aaron Zender, SNC cafeteria chef; representatives of the SGA and other members of the faculty, according to Katie Russie, SGA director of public relations.
Russie states that it will be a “fairly open forum” with time dedicated to hearing student topic suggestions at the beginning of the meeting.
“We basically just really want to see a lot of students there so we can hear what they want and will then be able to implement it,” Russie said. “I’m super focused on listening to students feedback, and I want to hear as much as possible.”
This will be the first SGA-sponsored forum in over a year, according to McCoy. She states that the SGA usually plans on at least one forum a semester but they did not host a forum for the duration of the 2013-2014 school year.
“As part of my presidential duties I lead two student forums: one in the fall and one on the spring. It’s a chance for students to express to us concerns on campus and suggestions,” said SGA President Aaron Wiener. “Students are the main concern. They haven’t had the forum for two years and Sabrina Belleci gave a president’s address. I will be doing the same thing discussing campus initiatives and updates from SGA. Topics will be parking, the president’s house and the dining hall.”
Sustainability has been a cornerstone of the Sierra Nevada College mission ever since its first days as an established institution. The original core themes of alternative energy and environmental science have given way to the much wider discipline of sustainability, but as the school grows and finds new ways to be economically viable it has become the responsibility of the students, faculty and administration to realize our sustainable potential as well.
According to Adjunct Professor Brennan Lagasse there is an incredible potential for SNC in the realm of sustainable education.
“I think that this school has the ultimate opportunity to be the most, and I mean this, progressive institution with regards to its sustainability studies that there is, in terms of a small liberal arts private school, with 500 people, with cap that exists at 1,000, that is right on the shores of Lake Tahoe in one of the beautiful places in the world,” Lagasse said.
Lagasse recently returned from a class focused on holistic sustainability in the arctic, in which he and six SNC students experienced the lives of members of the Gwich’in tribe in Arctic Village, Alaska. According to Lagasse this class represents all of the positive possibilities for the future of sustainable education at SNC.
“What we did in Alaska, that’s it man,” Lagasse said. “I guarantee any liberal arts school, any progressive sustainability program, anybody that sees that and knows what’s up in the sustainability world would look at that and say ‘Wow that’s cool’.”
The Student Government Association held its senator elections to solidify its board in order to productively represent the student body.
The senator elections were held to encourage not only freshman participants, but all students interested in becoming involved with the SGA.
In the pursuit to be more sustainable, the elections occurred via student email this year. Every student received an email with their own personal code, to ensure they only voted once. This year, there were 75 students that cast their vote.
Typically the SGA likes to have the sophomore, junior and senior elections in May along with all the other positions.
Since it did not receive enrollment for those positions, it was pushed back to the freshman senator elections. The SGA elected Freshman Frankie Sanchez and Senior Austin Farina on the board this fall, according to Sustainability Chair Marina McCoy.
“Class senators represent the voice of that particular class. But we also have senators that are for specific majors such as a Business and Psychology department,” Director of Events Haley Gray said.
In SGA, the class senators hold the important role of bridging the void between the students and the higher tier of student activities and clubs.
Grade senators now have more stipulations and duties than non-grade senators. Grade senators go to all the SGA meetings, events and press responsibilities.
“If the class has something they would like to voice, they generally would go to their grade senator so that they can come to meetings and share those ideas with SGA,” President Aaron Wiener said.
The SGA breaks down its board through an executive board and then through senators.
The executive board is divided in two committees: the Judicial and Events committee.
The Judicial committee consists of President Aaron Wiener, Vice President Cole Mizak, Secretary Mei Li Le Roy and Treasurer Brendan Wheelwright.
The Events committee includes Sustainability Chair Marina McCoy, Director of Events Haley Gray and director of Public Relations Katie Russie.
“It’s really great that we have a full board now. Hopefully next year for elections more people will be involved to better the school and the community,” McCoy said.
Students can contact the SGA at StudentGovernmentAssociation@sierranevada.edu or www.SNCSGA.com.
The Third Wednesday Readings taking place in the Prim Library are a way for faculty and guest speakers to informally interact with the students at Sierra Nevada College. On Wednesday Sept. 17, Thomas Wade Brown, instructor of Humanities and Social Sciences at SNC, led a presentation in the back of the library that attracted 25 people as he discussed “Delay Discounting”, or different forms of behavioral psychology. Brown’s presentation marked the first of two that will take place this semester as a part of the series.
The crowd of over 20 people consisted of faculty members, SNC students and even some high school students from Incline High.
“The turnout was incredible. I think at one point the head count got to 25 people, which was really unexpected. It was touching to see so many of my students and colleagues come out and show support,” said Brown.
During the one hour presentation Brown was enthusiastic about the psychological concepts he discussed.
“It is gorgeous!” Brown said, after switching through different graphs being presented on the projector.
“I am not a psychology major but the way Wade explained the different studies made me want to learn more about them,” Senior Rebecca Roberts said. “He has a good sense of humor that makes psychology more appealing.”
Brown finished his presentation by opening the floor to questions from the audience. It was an opportunity for the crowd to learn more about the topics he had discussed during the presentation.
Drought conditions are getting worse in California and Nevada as the summer comes to a close. According to the Drought Monitor report by U.S. agriculture and weather experts at least 58 percent of California is currently affected by the most severe drought seen in decades. Three months ago, only a quarter of the state was affected to this degree.
As the drought begins to affect more and more of California and Nevada, it feels as though Lake Tahoe is in a drought-free bubble. Where water is plentiful and residents are surrounded by lakes and rivers it is hard for the people living in the Tahoe Basin to understand the magnitude of the worst drought in recorded history.
As the school year begins, students scramble around campus getting back into their groove, smiles and small talk occur. High on the list of topics is the noticeable growth of Sierra Nevada College.
Since 2006, the SNC student population has doubled, and now has an enrollment of 549 undergraduate students. With many graduate students in the Masters of Teaching program and the Masters in Creative Writing, total SNC enrollment is now at 1,030 total students.
President Lynn Gillette is more than impressed with these growing numbers.
“I will say that no doubt, we are in a growth mode. We could see the student body going up by several hundred in the next couple of years; in fact, that’s a goal,” Gillette said.
Gillette is very happy with the increase in numbers, along with the academic quality of the university.
“The academic quality is overwhelmingly higher than it’s ever been. We got a hell of a product right now,” Gillette said.
With this product and the potential to grow, Sierra Nevada College must tackle a new problem – how to handle the numbers.
“With the growth that we are experiencing, we’re having a nice problem, needing to add facilities,” Gillette said.
According to Gillette, As far as academic space for classes and faculty offices, the school could accept several hundred more students without having to add these facilities.
Recently SNC opened the Holman Arts and Media Center on Tahoe Boulevard. This new building has allowed the art department to really expand and has become a much more comfortable facility for the students and faculty.
Gillette said new structures need to be built over the next two years including dorms, food service space, parking and a president’s home.
“Right now, we have thirty five percent of the undergraduate students living in the dorms. So as we grow, we’re going to have to address the issue of more dorm space. As housing is becoming more expensive in the area, and it is, that’s an issue that we have to address,” Gillette said.
SNC also has to address more cafeteria and parking space in order to support the growing enrollment of the school. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has actually put a cap on how large the school enrollment can grow without adding additional land to the campus. According to the admission’s department, SNC’s maximum capacity is currently set at 1,000 enrolled undergraduate students.
The master plan encompasses goals for the future physical layout of the SNC campus.
“Everything that is planned for in the master plan is tentative, including a house for the president,” Gillette said.
The master plan has been designed to accommodate up to 1,000 students along with the president of the school, if and when it is completed.
“A master plan is kind of dynamic; it’s always changing. As we build out the campus master plan, the idea that the president’s home on campus adds to the campus experience. That’s the vision,” Gillette said.
Planning and fundraising could take anywhere from 6 to 18 months and actual construction of any new facilities will take 12 to 15 months.
There are no hard dates set for the school’s necessary facility completions but as school enrollment keeps growing, the pressure to get these facilities built will continue to grow with it.