Whether it’s the permanent closure of Campus Drive in the spring and summer or the grand opening of Chick-fil-A in the fall, big events and news have rocked campus culture this year, resulting in understanding rivalries, swiping dates and bridging cultures.
BYU vs. U of U daily life
BYU and U of U have been football rivals since 1896, a rivalry known as the “Holy War.”
Senior reporter Amy McDonald decided to put this rivalry to the test off the field and on the campuses.
“The experiment was simple: I spent one day wearing a ‘Mighty Utah Student Section’ (MUSS) t-shirt on the BYU campus and another day wearing a BYU sweatshirt on the U of U campus,” McDonald wrote. “On both campuses, I acted as a visitor, a newcomer or a transfer student who needed help.”
When she asked an MBA student from BYU where the Blue Line Deli was, he said, “I don’t know if they’ll serve you with that shirt!” And a student on the U campus said, “You’re awfully brave to wear that shirt (here)!”
Aside from the snarky comments, McDonald found rival students from both sides were generally … nice.
“And we call this the ‘Holy War’? I suppose the fact that BYU and Utah students treat each other with respect despite the century-long rivalry might make you feel good about humanity, but it isn’t exactly newsworthy. Case cracked, people are nice — not the most shocking headline,” she wrote.
Overall, McDonald realized both schools are very similar during a regular school day. Game days just bring out their competitive loyalties to their own schools.
“So here’s some food for thought to take to the last Holy War football game you’ll see in three years: the fans you profess to hate may get under your skin at the game, but on every other day they are just like you,” McDonald wrote. “Though they’ll be wearing a different color on Saturday, on a day-to-day basis we’re all just trying to get to class on time, working for an A on a paper and hoping to get a date this weekend.”
BYU No. 1 smartest and hottest school
BYU has been ranked throughout the nation for top majors, best study abroad programs and many other categories. But as of this year, one survey named BYU the smartest and hottest school in the nation.
Jennifer Polland, a lists editor for Business Insider, wrote “25 Colleges Where Students are Both Hot & Smart.”
“I think college students are proud to say that their schools have students who are both smart and good looking, so I decided to create a list that addresses that issue,” Polland said.
College Prowler, a website creating college ranking based on student reviews, composed the top 25 hottest and smartest college list. According to Polland’s article, College Powler has more than 700,000 student reviews at nearly 7,000 colleges.
“Students and alumni of the schools included on the list seem to be very excited about it,” Polland said. “Also, the list went viral overnight, receiving 5.5 million views in less than 24 hours.”
A quote from the story on the Business Insider’s website describes how the Honor Code makes BYU students more attractive.
“Everyone at BYU is very attractive; I’ve yet to see an ugly person here. Thanks to the Honor Code, every guy is clean shaven and well groomed (no super long hair), and every girl is dressed modestly (not too much skin).”
‘Swiped right’ off her feet: How Tinder led to marriage
The Tinder app was discovered by many BYU students this past year as an easy way to get dates. But what started out as a fun first date turned into marriage for a few BYU students.
March marked the first date for three couples, and many more, who are now getting married because they met through the dating app Tinder.
“Before my first date with Matt, I was really nervous. I was wary of Tinder; I thought it could easily be used for people to lie about who they were,” said Jen Heder, a music education major from BYU. “I was half expecting some fat old guy, but it wasn’t — it was Matthew.”
“I never, ever, ever thought I would meet the person I was going to marry on Tinder,” Heder said. “You obviously go on Tinder being hopeful and thinking maybe something could happen from it, but in my idea of how things might go, I didn’t ever think this would happen.”
Did the Brigham Young statue have a beard?
The myth that the Brigham Young statue, located south of the ASB, once had a beard has been solved. But not in the way rumors tell it.
Legend has it that the statue once had a beard, but when administrators decided facial hair was a faux pas, the statue was decapitated and given a new, beardless head.
The statue has always been clean shaven, according to a Daily Universe article, “Great-grand-son unveils Brigham Young statue,” which was published the day before the statue was unveiled in 1961.
“The statue depicts Brigham Young standing and holding a cane in his left hand,” the article states. “He is without a beard, his hair is long and flowing, and he wears a knee-length frock coat.”
Though the photo in the Nov. 3 edition of the paper didn’t show the statue’s face, a photo of the clean-shaven, unveiled statue was published a week later. If that’s not proof enough, there’s a second witness that this Brother Brigham has always been an Honor Code abider.
The plaster cast used to create BYU’s statue was also used to create the Brigham Young statue featured at the “This is the Place” Monument at Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.
The Heritage Park version, which was sculpted between 1939 and 1947, features oversized bronzes of Heber C. Kimball and Wilford Woodruff on either side of Young; but even here, Young is clean shaven.
Myth: busted. The Brigham Young statue never had a beard.
Non-LDS professors at BYU
This year, Universe reporter Kelsey Snowden found many BYU professors who were not LDS but who have a great relationship with the university.
Though it would be easy to assume that all students, faculty and staff at BYU are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is not the case.
Through his success as a journalist, Hughes met President Gordon B. Hinckley, who asked him to become the editor of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, a position Hughes held for 10 years.
“President Gordon B. Hinckley was astoundingly knowledgeable about newspapers,” Hughes said. “He had a great sense of humor, and I treasured the time I knew him.”
Professor Eula Ewing Monroe, from the BYU Teacher Education Department, is another faculty member at BYU who is not a member of the LDS Church.
“I love my work at BYU,” Monroe said on a BYU Religious Studies Center website. “As a Southern Baptist whose colleagues and students are almost all of the LDS faith, my story of finding God is not one of conversion to Mormonism. To the contrary, it is the story of how my own faith has been strengthened during my years on the faculty at BYU.”
East Coast Mormons vs. West Coast Mormons
Universe reporter Kaylee DeWitt noticed the differences between Mormons from different parts of the country this year — East Coast versus West Coast.
Kristen Jones is a sophomore from Cumberland, R.I., a state with only 11 students enrolled at BYU. Jones said one of the major differences between the East and West is that people are more willing to talk to strangers in the West.
“Everyone (in the West) wants to talk to you all the time, and at home people are like, ‘Go, go, go,'” she said. “If you know someone, they will talk to you, but otherwise you don’t really interact as often. Here (in Utah), everyone is friendly or outgoing. When you are in the grocery store, people will talk to you. That kind of freaked me out at first. People say ‘hi’ to everyone even if they don’t know them.”
East Coast students who now live in Provo explained how they were often one of the only LDS members in their high schools. “It was a really cool missionary experience that taught us to stand for what we believe in,” Jones said.
Samantha Clyde is a communications disorders major from New Providence, N.J. She also recognized many differences between the Eastern and Western United States, including accents, hair color, fashion, restaurants, the way people drive, the number of snow days and the focus on school.
Missionary age change affects Provo
Winter 2013 welcomed the first semester following President Thomas S. Monson’s announcement that the minimum age for men and women to serve a mission had been lowered, and BYU felt its effects.
Eighteen-year-old men and 19-year-old women began entering the Provo MTC on Jan. 23, beginning the surge of missionaries expected since October 2012.
In order to house the influx of young missionaries during their time in training, arrangements were made for missionaries to stay at Raintree Commons and parts of Wyview Park starting in May.
The Provo MTC also considered ways to expand after the original proposal of a new tower was rejected in 2012 by nearby residents. Throughout the year, several neighborhood meetings were held in which neighbors of the MTC came together to discuss its expansion. Plans were announced Nov. 14 to expand the Provo Missionary Training Center southward to BYU’s Auxiliary Services Laundry Building and the Auxiliary Services Maintenance Building.
Campus Drive evolves during spring and summer terms
Phase 1 of the Campus Drive redesign began at the beginning of May, with demolition of the pedestrian bridge between the Wilkinson Student Center and J. Reuben Clark Building and the surrounding area.
“We’re also looking at pedestrian safety … as well as providing ample green space,” said university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.
While students, staff and faculty felt the pain of a temporary reduction in parking space near the law school building, the project is meant to ease parking difficulties upon completion.
“The purpose of the redesign of Campus Drive is not to increase parking on campus. However, it is expected that the Campus Drive Redesign Project will result in a slight net gain of parking spaces on campus,” BYU’s Campus Drive Redesign website said.
According to the website, “The main items of work included a new pedestrian plaza between the J. Reuben Clark Law School building and the Wilkinson Student Center, additional parking near the Harris Fine Arts Center, improved pedestrian access through the parking lot (and) convenient drop-off access in front of the Wilkinson Student Center.”
Phase 2 of the redesign is scheduled for May–August 2014, and Phase 3 is scheduled for May–August 2015.
Chick-fil-A comes to campus
The Cougareat announced May 29 that Chick-fil-A would come to campus after years of requests from students.
“In all of our student focus groups, Chick-fil-A has come out to be the number-one requested franchise,” said Dean Wright, director of Dining Services.
The deal has been in the works for the past nine years, according to Terry Crook, operator consultant to BYU’s Chick-fil-A and owner of the franchise in University Mall. Topics like funding, space, adequate planning and construction needs added to the delay.
In order to make room for the new restaurant, Tomassito’s was removed. At the time of the announcement, Wright said the Cougareat would probably blend Tomassito’s with one of the other locations in the food court.
At both the soft opening on Aug. 5 and the grand opening on Sept. 4–5, students expressed excitement over the arrival of the eatery.
“It’s always popular,” said Jessica Anderson, a junior at BYU majoring in elementary education. “You can get sick of places like Taco Bell and Subway, but it feels like you can never get sick of Chick-fil-A.”
New Testing Center policies make lines longer
Long lines at the Testing Center are nothing new, but they have started winding out the door more often after the fire marshal asked the Testing Center in October to reduce the number of desks.
During an assessment of the Testing Center, Risk Management found a fire code violation due to the large number of chairs, reducing the number of people inside the building.
The extra chairs did not result in increased medical or legal incidents, said Todd Hollingshead, BYU spokesperson. Felicia Bunting, a Testing Center assistant, said the only complaints about the crowded room came from test proctors when test-takers do not put their bags under their seats.
Bunting said she has not only seen longer lines at the Testing Center, but the staff has also sent people to the overflow seating on the first floor more often this semester. This may occur even more often during future midterms and finals.
“As soon as all the seats are filled, we can’t let more people in so the lines get really long,” Bunting said.