The Birth of a College Town

It’s been discussed for quite some time now. Early believers whispered about a changing face of downtown Reno, though many of us were skeptical if it would ever happen or not. Then suddenly, it did.

It’s seems like overnight, every Reno resident began talking about Reno Rebirth, a plan to rezone the city and develop new businesses, which has been in the works for some years now. Many believe the project got it starts with the development of Reno’s booming midtown district, which is now home to dozens of locally-owned bars, restaurants, and boutiques.


The development of the midtown district was spearheaded by one of Reno’s mayoral candidates, Hillary Schieve, owner of Plato’s Closet, located in the midtown district. Both Schieve and her opponent, Ray Pezonella, have worked on the Reno Rebirth Project in order to change the look of Reno’s downtown and expand the university campus south of I-80.

The Reno Rebirth project would ultimately hope to see businesses such as pawn shops, tattoo parlors, and souvenir stores removed from the downtown district, to be replaced by bars, restaurants, and boutiques that cater to the university community. Expanding the university into the downtown area would be beneficial for Reno’s economy, and would give the city a more cohesive feeling.

Downtown at night. Reno, Nevada, USA

With the building of three new on-campus, state-of-the-art facilities underway — the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center, Peavine Hall, and the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center — and the announcement that Tesla will begin building a multi-billion dollar battery factory in neighboring Sparks, the Reno Rebirth movement couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Other possibilities that have been discussed are the renovation of downtown hotels into upperclassmen and graduate student apartments, and the building of a new Wolf Pack football stadium south of I-80.

One main concern for students, faculty, and city council members is the safety of students. Currently, most students do not walk downtown past dark, especially alone, out of concern for their own safety. In response to this concern, some have suggested the installation of more street lamps in dimly-light areas between the university and downtown. With the lamps, students would feel free and safe to move seamlessly between the current university campus and downtown area, which, with time, will hopefully blend together.


With all the change taking place in Reno, I am excited to one day return as an alumna and see what has become of my beloved alma mater and its hometown. After learning about college towns such as Chico, California and Athens, Georgia, which entirely revolve around their respective universities, I began wishing Reno had a similar ambience. Beside its negative reputation (which is thankfully trying to be salvaged by the Biggest Little City campaign), Reno’s biggest issue is the blaring divide between its university and the rest of the city. If we can rid the city of its outdated mini-Las Vegas-wannabe reputation, and instead cultivate a town that lives, eats, and breaths Wolf Pack, we can forever change both the University of Nevada and the City of Reno for the better.

What are some changes you would like to see in your college town? Tweet them to me @misserincollins and I might retweet you!


The Unofficial Bucket List of the University of Nevada

1. Participate in Welcome Week events — paint the “N” on the hill with fellow members of the Pack, wolf down some pancakes at midnight, and take pride in your university!


2. Wake up at 4 a.m. for Dawn Patrol at The Great Reno Balloon Race. The killer Instagram you’ll get as proof will make it worthwhile.

3. Eat at Archie’s on game day and get to know some of your fellow Wolf Pack fans.

4. Stroll around downtown with some friends during the Wine Walk. Don’t forget your glitter tattoo at Five Star!


5. Pig out on some ribs at the Sparks Nugget’s Annual Rib Cook-Off.

6. Become a part of our university’s legacy by partaking in homecoming traditions such as the undie run, carnival, or the March from the Arch.

7. Fill up on mushroom ravioli and peach bellinis at the Annual Italian Festival downtown. If that’s not a recipe for a good time, I don’t know what is.

8. Regardless of whether or not you join a house, participate in at least one Greek life event, whether it be SAE’s Paddy Murphy or Delta Gamma’s Anchor Splash.

9. Show off your Wolf Pack pride by participating in Beat UNLV week — moon our neighbors to the south or make the road trip down to Sin City with your best friends.


10. Try not to scream at Lincoln Hall’s annual haunted house. Let’s be honest, you probably won’t, but it’s a fun thing to do with your friends around Halloween time.

11. Get in touch with your #basic side while drinking hot cider and picking out pumpkins at Apple Hill in Camino, California. Don’t forget your riding boots and Pumpkin Spice Latte, obv.

12. Get dressed up to get messed up at the Santa Crawl. If you want to be truly original, have your friends dress as Santa and his eight tiny reindeer. Pause, not.

13. Visit Lake Tahoe when it’s snowy — drink hot cocoa at The Village at North Star or ski down the powder at Squaw Valley.

14. Visit Lake Tahoe when it’s sunny — sip on a Wet Woody or party at Zephyr Cove on the 4th of July.


15. Catch up on current events with the Nevada Sagebrush or a Coffin and Keys newsletter. If you’re lucky, you might read your own name one day in the Sagebrush. If you’re unlucky, you might read your own name one day in Coffin and Keys.

16. Stay through the end of a sporting event and sing our alma mater and fight song. N-E-V-A-D-A you say, “Nevada!”

17. Fill yourself with a bizarre mix of pride and shame as you attempt to finish an Awful Awful from the Nugget downtown. Try not to spill on yourself. Fail.

18. Invest in the refillable tremor mug at Kokomo in Lake Havasu on spring break. I’m no accountant, but I’m fairly certain that by the amount of refills you’ll inevitably buy, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.

19. Take the winding drive up the hill and spend a day in Virginia City. Can you say “cinnamon whiskey crawl?”


20. Play quarters at the Corkscroo, then head downtown for a little gambling on your 21st birthday. Because… Reno.

21. Party bus your way to the Wal one Thirsty Thursday. Regret it. Swear you’ll never drink again. Repeat.

22. Slap the bag while floating down the Truckee River. Wear closed-toed shoes and try not to pop your air mattress on the rocks.

23. Make a sacrifice to the great and honorable Mackay before final exams. Pretend like that excuses you from studying.

24. Swing dance the night away in the Jack Daniel’s tent at the Annual Reno Rodeo. Spend far too much money on Jack and Diets.


25. Show your patriotism by enjoying the great American pastime at a Reno Ace’s game.

Whether you spread these events out over four years or seven, just be sure that by the time you cross the stage at graduation, you won’t have missed out on any of the fun things our community has to offer!

What’s your favorite annual event at the University of Nevada or within the Reno/Tahoe area? Tweet me a picture and I might retweet you!


The Pack Backs Kaep

As a super senior at the University of Nevada, I am one of the few remaining students on campus who was here during Colin Kaepernick’s reign as the Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback. I was a freshman during his final year on campus, and I can still remember how exciting it was to attend football games with such a talented athlete leading the team.


We started out the season strong, with two wins at home against Eastern Washington and Colorado State. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we beat UC Berkeley 52-31 at home during our third game. We kept the Fremont Cannon blue with a 44-26 victory on UNLV’s turf. And no one can forget the historic November 26th game when we robbed Boise State of their otherwise-perfect season. #ThankYouKyleBrotzman

Our 12-1 record in the regular season earned us an invitation to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco, where we defeated Boston College 20-13. With the exception of one away game against the University of Hawaii, our team won every game in the 2010 football season. (FBSchedules) Man, those were the glory days.

Much of the Nevada Wolf Pack’s success that season was due to none other than Mr. Colin Kaepernick. In 2008, he was the only NCAA quarterback to pass for 2,500 or more yards and rush for 1,000 or more yards, and was awarded MVP at the Humanitarian Bowl with a record 370 yards passing and an ankle injury. During his career with the Pack, Kaep was twice named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and during his senior year, was ranked first amongst active college football players in rushing touchdowns. He is the only quarterback in the history of Division 1 FBS college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a collegiate career, and the only one to have passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in a single season three consecutive times. (NCAA FBS Records 2011)

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.14.29 PM

via Instagram

Seriously, what a star. We Nevada fans were so proud to have Mr. Kaepernick leading our team back then, though we knew that eventually the day would come when he would hang up his Wolf Pack gear to pursue a career in the NFL. We never imagined the tremendous success he would find.

Not only was Colin drafted by the NFL, not only was he selected as the 4th pick of the second round, but he was chosen by Northern Nevada’s closest NFL team: the San Francisco 49ers. Considering there are no professional sports teams in the state of Nevada, most people from Nevada consider themselves fans of California’s teams, including the San Francisco 49ers. This is especially true for those of us who are Bay Area natives.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.16.27 PM

via Instagram

You can only imagine the enormous pride we all felt for the 49ers, the Wolf Pack, and Colin Kaepernick when he was drafted in 2011. We watched as Kaep had a fairly uneventful first season, we watched as his second season had a similar start, and we watched as that all changed, when in week 10 he replaced Alex Smith due to a head injury. Though we all felt terrible for Smith and his concussion, we couldn’t help but draw similarities between this occasion and the 2007 Wolf Pack season, when starting quarterback Nick Graziano suffered a foot injury. Both instances led to Kaepernick finishing out the game in lieu of the starting QB, and eventually taking over as the starting QB for the remainder of the season.

Kaep quickly rose to fame during the 2012 NFL season, breaking the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. He led the San Francisco 49ers to victory in 8 of the 11 games in which he started during the regular and post-season, and led the team to Super Bowl XLVII, where they were unfortunately defeated by the Baltimore Ravens 34-31. Though it was a tough loss, the game proves Kaepernick’s tremendous potential.

Let us not forget the off-field attention Kaepernick has also received, from a Sports Illustrated spread, to advertisements with Beats By Dre, to a viral trend known as “Kaepernicking.”

via Instagram

via Instagram

He continues his success with the 49ers today, and win or lose, his fans believe that he can lead our team to another Super Bowl.

 From Saturdays, when I would wear his name on a navy jersey while cheering from the student section of Mackay Stadium, to Sundays, when I now wear his name on a red jersey while cheering him on the big screen, I consider myself a tried and true fan of Colin Kaepernick. I couldn’t be more proud that he’s been the quarterback of my two favorite football teams. Go Kaep!


Do you have a favorite Colin Kaepernick memory? Tweet it to me and I might retweet you!


FBSchedules. 2010 Nevada Wolf Pack Schedule. Web. <>

NCAA FBS Records 2011. Web. <>

Official Website of Colin Kaepernick. Web. <>