By Allie Jeppson, Editor-in-chief
College is a time when students are surrounded by decisions, modifications and endless variables. To students, the concept of change is quite familiar and may be the only constant during this time of life.
With a new semester, new classes and new faces, each student is surrounded by a number of changes in which they must adapt to. Such is the case at Utah State University, however in addition to the natural changes that come with a new school year, students will notice several additional changes have been made over the course of the summer for the purpose of enhancing student life on and off of campus. While there are many that have taken place, students should be aware of a few major alterations.
In spring of 2012, students voted in approval of a $25 student fee that would help pay for the redesigning of the HPER fields. Though the fee was only recently implemented in tuition this fall semester, students are already reaping the benefits of the fee as the Legacy Fields are finished and ready for student use.
“They’re done, they’re ready to roll and students are ready to use them,” Morales said adding that the fields will be used frequently for multiple purposes.
Featured on the fields are two softball diamonds, a regulation soccer field and two flag football fields that can be re-marked for the use of lacrosse and rugby. Morales said he expects the fields to be used until about 10:30 p.m. every night for intramurals, club sporting activities and open recreation use. Bike stations and water fountains can also be found along the perimeter of the fields and plans for adding slack lining posts are underway, Morales said.
Though the implementation of common hour is not a physically tangible change to USU, its presence will influence all students on campus. Common hour is a time set aside where no classes are scheduled — an hour where all students and faculty are free from in-classroom instruction. Common hour will take place each week on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. James Morales, USU vice president of student services, explained that during this time, the university will host different speakers, guest lecturers and activities throughout the year. While students are not required to attend common hour activities, the free time gives all who want to attend the opportunity to do so without having to worry about conflicting class time.
Morales added that this hour also provides time for students who may not want to attend the week’s common hour event a chance to accomplish any task they may need to such as meeting with an advisor, study group meetings, extra homework time or a break from classes.
“It’s time in the middle of the day that’s just down time for everybody to be able to get things done,” Morales said. “That’s kind of the basic concept, something that helps us come together as a community.”
Many students are aware of the new Utah State athletics logo revealed during spring of 2012. However, over the summer this new logo was implemented in various ways among USU Athletics. Students who attend sporting events will be able to see the new logo in the turf of the Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium and on the floor of Dee Glen Smith Spectrum as well as on the new uniforms of athletic teams.
“[The university’s] work that they’ve done with Nike has been so great,” said Student Body President Christian Thrapp. “The uniforms are pristine, the field looks great and the Hurd shirts look great.”
Thanks to Nike and their work with USU, the new logo, wordmark, aggie bull and uniforms can be seen in many places on campus.
As students walk around campus they may notice that several buildings are under construction with the completion of some newly erected buildings. While the new agricultural sciences building was finished just before school’s end in spring of 2012, another building that was under construction at that same time is now finished and ready for use. The regional campuses and distance education building — located on 700 North between the industrial science and the communicative disorders buildings — has been completed and is currently hosting classrooms full of students said Dave Cowley, USU vice president for business and finance. However, Cowley noted that this building will not only benefit students on campus, but also many students across the state as lectures are broadcast through the distance education program.
Another recently completed building will expand off-campus housing opportunities for students. The Blue Square housing development, located on 800 East across from Romney Stadium, is partially complete and housing students for the 2012-2013 school year. While the complex includes three buildings total, only one is fully completed. It is expected that the other two buildings will be finished around spring or possibly next fall, explained Cowley.
A number of other on-campus buildings, such as the animal science building, have undergone renovations for the new school year while others like the business building are in the process of expanding. Still, several building are just being erected, such as the athletic strength and conditioning center located near Romney Stadium, and a few have even been or will soon be demolished like the previous agricultural sciences building and Lund hall will soon be torn down as well in order to accommodate the expansion of the business building, said Cowley. Though not all students may be directly affected by each change that has taken place, the modifications will make the university a more excellent whole and enhance student learning, Cowley said.
“With every facilities project we do, we’re always thinking about how this is going to improve the learning environment of the students,” he said.
The students’ social environment will also be enhanced, said Thrapp, stating that these changes are what add to the students’ environment, enhance school spirit and make people love the university even more.
“I really do hope that the students understand and utilize these things that have been given [to us],” he said. “I hope that the students understand that this is so fantastic, that not many other places are like Utah State University.”