SNC is officially SNU

SNU+staff+working+on+the+school%27s+updated%2C+new+website.

Photo By: Alex Schoff

SNU staff working on the school's updated, new website.

Alex Schoff, Editor

Sierra Nevada University? Yep, get used to saying it because nearly a year after the idea was originally presented, the school formerly known as Sierra Nevada College can now be called by its new name: Sierra Nevada University, College of Entrepreneurial Leadership.

While the idea has been being kicked around for a while, the school knew it couldn’t wait any longer and essentially threw a hail Mary to boost enrollment.

“It was probably in March of 2019 that a group of us sort of said look, let’s start to really address the issues here,” Tim Cohee, Ski Business and Resort Management Program director, said.

Cohee is referring to two issues in particular: The first is a problem that plagues nearly every small liberal arts college in the United States, low enrollment. The second issue is one unique to SNU, name confusion.

“I’ve been here 16 years and It’s been going on for 16 years, where people are constantly having to explain, no, we’re not Sierra College, and no we’re not a junior college, and no we’re not a community college,” Cohee said.

The name change will help SNU refine its identity separate from junior or community colleges.

“It was mainly just name recognition,” Bryant Davis, an admissions counselor at SNU said. “Especially with Sierra College being a two-year community college and our name being super similar. Hopefully people will see SNU as a more formidable name.”

Throughout the process of changing the name of the school many students were left in the dark some only finding out when the name was changed on the website.

“Yea! That [student input] would’ve been a good idea,” Nate Turley, an SNU senior said.

Even though many students were kept out of the loop it doesn’t mean they are against the idea.

“I’m stoked on it,” Turley said. “Just because it says university, I think people will take me a little more seriously than if [my degree] says college on it.”

Tim Cohee agrees, thinking many students will embrace the idea.

“I think you would be very hard pressed to find a student here who doesn’t think this is a good idea,” Cohee said. “The students are just as frustrated by this as everybody else. I ask my students in my class how many times have you said to somebody you go to Sierra Nevada College and they immediately go, ‘oh.’ Or how many of them don’t say, ‘What’s that?’ or how many of them don’t say ‘Oh, that’s that college right over here on Highway 80 with the big sign over by Squaw Valley.’”

A big concern from many students graduating this semester is what the degree will say: SNC, or SNU?

“Students who started before the name change became official, which includes all students who are currently enrolled, will have the option of having either Sierra Nevada College or Sierra Nevada University on their diploma,” Shannon Beets, Executive Vice President and Provost, stated via email.

While the name change has taken off fast there are many things that are still unknown like when will the school sign be changed, or what will happen to all the merchandise that says SNC on it in the campus store. Cohee thinks a sale will probably happen. But undoubtedly, the biggest question to arise out of this process is what will happen to all the alumni who currently have degrees saying SNC on them.

“I’m a little disappointed because I wish my degree said Sierra Nevada University,” Kaitlin Cabral a SNC alumni said. “I guess when they look it up, I’ll have to explain to employers that they had a name change.”

According to Beets, all alumni will have the opportunity to order diplomas with the new name.

Cohee seems to be a bit more optimistic about what will happen to all the alumni out there. He thinks it is irrelevant what people call the school since in the end it’s all the same.

“I don’t think anything will change,” Cohee said. “I went to Long Beach State. Long Beach State it says CSULB, it says Long Beach State, it says Long Beach State University, it says California State University of Long Beach. I mean you drive up to the college it says California State University of Long Beach. Nobody calls it that.”

While the school is now being called “university” it does not mean the school will all of a sudden get flooded with new students, classes won’t be disrupted, and things at SNU will stay normal. And for the school, that means small, something the people here take pride in.

“We had a marketing meeting yesterday and the phrase came up, ‘the power of small.’ I had never heard that phrase before and I really like it,” Cohee said. “From a strategic standpoint there is power in being small.”