Las Vegas Sun

October 31, 2014

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LOOKING IN ON: HIGHER EDUCATION

Following the footsteps of then-Community College of Southern Nevada student body President Presley Conkle, who successfully petitioned the Board of Regents to drop "community" from the college's name this spring, student Brenner Cavil is trying to create a $500 million international student center on the West Charleston campus.

Cavil, who attends CSN and UNLV, envisions the facility as part student union, part recreation center and part performance venue, with an emphasis on drawing international students and the Las Vegas community together to discuss global issues.

The growing campus lacks basic student union facilities , and rather than levy more student fees to build them, as students at UNLV and UNR recently did, Cavil wants to pursue private donations.

All he needs is the green light from CSN administrators to solicit possible donors, Cavil said. A green light administrators are unlikely to give.

Cavil's passion and vision for the center are wonderful, said outgoing President Richard Carpenter, but the $500 million price tag is unrealistic because of the college's immediate needs for something basic - classrooms.

"We're not opposing this . We're just not embracing this as our top priority," Carpenter said. "It is a wonderful vision and , if basic needs are met, adding the flourishes just makes it better, but we aren't there."

Cavil complained to regents in June that Carpenter wasn't returning calls after their initial meetings, but Carpenter said he couldn't keep meeting about something that wasn't going to happen.

"I don't think anybody is going to support a $500 million facility for that purpose," he said.

Undaunted, Cavil is organizing a student petition to draw the attention of administrators.

The last big petition drive at the college was Conkle's 10,000-signature campaign to change the college's name. The college has several billboards and television spots out this month to remind the community that CCSN is now CSN.

One television spot and billboard message shows a pencil erasing the first C from CCSN and another with a coyote paw - the college mascot - stamping it out.

There are six electronic billboards along Las Vegas Valley freeways advertising the change, at a cost of $8,100 for the next two months, and two static billboards, costing $3,300 for a month, said Dave Morgan, CSN director of marketing. The college is spending about $40,000 during the summer on the television spots.

The name-change campaign is doubling as the college's annual summer enrollment push, so the cost of the television spots and the billboards is what the college would have spent on marketing anyway, Morgan said. The only new cost was the $7,500 spent to reproduce the college's television and radio spots, which also had to come out of the regular marketing budget.

"It's pretty much business as usual, trying to let people know about the name change and hope that helps with enrollment as well," Morgan said.

Because of a budget crunch during the next biennium, Morgan said he expects his $500,000 annual marketing budget to decline at least 5 percent for the 2007-08 school year.

The college plans to change signs on campus slowly and redo stationery as the old stuff is used up, Carpenter said.

UNLV's new vice president of diversity, Christine Clark, is scheduled to address a leadership and networking conference for women of color.

Organized by the university in partnership with the local Latin, Urban, Asian and American Indian chambers of commerce, the Aug. 3 conference at UNLV's Cox Pavilion will offer seminars by established and up-and-coming women of color from education, government, business, gaming, health care and media.

For more information, go to lvwomenofcolor.com.

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