Best of UNLV

With another fall semester and incoming class of freshman upon us, The UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press has assembled a comprehensive list of Rebels’ favorite places, groups and people on campus and around the city.

All winners were selected through a voting process that lasted about three weeks in August. The contest was promoted through social media, email, Rebel Rave messages and word-of-mouth. Winners are not necessarily a reflection of the views or opinions of the UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press staff.

Best Building design: Lied Library

It’s not only the geographic center of campus, it’s also one of UNLV’s most high-traffic areas. That’s what Welles Pugsley Architects (now, Simpson Coulter) wanted when UNLV contracted them to design the campus’ largest library in 1994. The $55.3 million building opened in 2001 and was named for Ernst Lied, founder of the Lied Charitable Trust, which made a large donation towards construction. Perhaps Lied Library’s most unique feature is its 35-foot tall, 4,800-square-foot book retrieval system called LASR, or the Lied Automated Storage and Retrieval System. LASR houses journals published before 1993 and old U.S. government documents and books. With its open design and features such as multi-purpose rooms for coordination with other UNLV departments, Lied Library has won several awards, including the American institute of Architects honor Award, the Council of Education Facility Planners International Merit Award and the Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award.



Jacob Thompson

Best instructor: Jacob Thompson

The UNLV debate coach has been busy since he joined the UNLV faculty in 2007. His team was one of the top 10 in the nation in 2012 and was 11th ranked last year. Thompson has a lifelong love for debating himself, competing in high school and at Wayne State before becoming an assistant coach at the University of Kansas where he earned his Ph.D. When he isn’t teaching and researching argumentation theory, practice and rhetoric, Thompson enjoys cooking and mountain biking. This semester, Thompson is also teaching a course titled Security Discourse, which will have students analyzing the rhetoric of foreign policy.






Best Place for Coffee and Tea: Starbucks

Students just can’t resist the siren’s call. It’s not the cheapest, but neither is anything else at UNLV. A tall black coffee will set you back about two bucks, which is just a few cents within range of the other joints on campus. But if you want something less robust (their coffee is pretty damn strong!) and more sugary, that’ll cost you. And any extra ingredients will also add extra calories, so keep that in mind the next time you order your Mocho Chocolata yaya with five pumps of peppermint, three jiggers of absinthe, two pumps of pure Amazonian vanilla extract, a shake of ground monkey skin, uranium garnish and a drop of viper blood. The lines are long all day, but service is fairly fast. Tip for students with meal plans: You can’t use your excess Dining Dollars on gift cards, so blow them on coffee to keep you up for that 20-page essay you waited two months to finish.


Best Study Spot: Lied Library  

With five stories and over 2,500 study spaces, it’s no wonder Lied Library takes Best Study Spot. The 300,000-square-foot building also houses a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to power those marathon sessions, especially when hours get extended for study week before finals. Lied also has 300 computer stations in case you don’t want to lug your laptop around all day. The library gets crowded quick, but you can reserve group study rooms at the library’s website.



Best Bookstore: Amazon

Why pay UNLV Bookstore prices or search out other affordable companies that actually treat their employees like humans, when you’ve got trusty ol’ Amazon? It may be less convenient to have to wait for your purchases to actually arrive, but surviving that broke college student life means making some sacrifices. With Amazon Prime, the wait won’t even be too bad, and there’s even a textbook rental option that won’t cause a hold on your MyUNLV if you forget to return what you rented. If you do, however, decide to settle with the UNLV bookstore, it won’t be so bad as they’ve begun to price match.


Best Food truck: Tacofest

Food trucks may sound like sketchy places to eat at first, but have no fear. Tacofest offers your typical Mexican-style fare: burritos, tacos, quesadillas and the like, providing a good alternative if you want something tastier than Taco Bell but closer to your last class of the afternoon than Chipotle or Cafe Rio on Maryland Parkway.



Best Bar: Crown and Anchor

Less than a block away from UNLV on Tropicana Avenue, Crown and Anchor serves traditional British foods for a reasonable price. The place just screams “British,” from the multitude of soccer jerseys hanging on the wall to the 30 different beers available to swig from. You’ll feel like you walked into an English boathouse when you take a seat at the hardwood tables or bar. Step in on a Saturday morning and you’ll find passioned soccer fans screaming at the TV screens as a backdrop to your brunch of sausage, mash potatoes and ale. Crown and Anchor also serves different baked pies like steak and mushroom that you can enjoy while sipping a beverage and listening to The Beatles. They have graveyard specials from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Best part: they’re open 24/7. So if you want to pregame, keep the party going or need a pick me up after a hard day’s night, Crown and Anchor may just be an option.


Best Las Vegas Concert Venue: T-Mobile Arena

T-Mobile Arena is one of the newest concert venues in town, but it’s quickly earning a reputation as a top-notch facility. Artists ranging from Lady Gaga to Slipknot and many in between have already played there, and the venue is soon going to be the home of the Vegas Golden Knights, showing how versatile a space it is. Be sure to check out The Park next door, which features plenty of dining to satisfy your after-concert appetite and some pretty cool artwork.


Best Restaurant on Maryland Parkway: Aloha Kitchen

Hawaii ranks as UNLV’s third largest recruitment state, and all those students need someplace to go for a taste of home. Even if you aren’t from the Aloha State, you may find yourself developing an addiction to the ono grindz Aloha Kitchen serves up. Choose from island favorites like chicken katsu or a loco moco (beef patties topped with egg, smothered in gravy and served with rice). Most of the plates come with rice and mac salad, and they even have Hawaiian Sun fruit drinks to get you reminiscing about those days on the beach. Aloha kitchen also serves breakfast to satisfy your fried rice or spam and Portuguese sausage cravings. And if you need to carb up, make sure you try the banana macadamia nut pancakes.


Best Fast Food on Campus: Soho Sushi Burrito

When Soho first came to the Student Union, their lines dwarfed Starbucks’. The lines may have shrunk since then, but the same can’t be said for their sushi burritos. For the uninitiated, a sushi burrito isn’t a slab of fish slapped into a tortilla. It’s fish stuffed with your choice of condiments into a wrap made of nori (seaweed) and rice, creating what’s essentially a giant sushi roll. You can also get any burrito in a bowl instead (they tend to have more rice for you rice lovers out there). There are many options to choose from, like the Hey Reb! Roll. But if you opt to make your own, Soho’s got you covered with protein choices ranging from spicy ahi to steak that you can mix and match with a wide assortment of toppings and sauces. They are open seven days a week


Best Fast Food near campus: In-N-Out

You could shell out $159 for intravenous treatment to get rid of a hangover, or you could grab a Double Double for just over three bucks. In-N-Out is just steps from Greenspun Hall and is the closest fast food joint to UNLV that stays open until 1 a.m. Nothing fancy here, just your typical, no-nonsense menu. Grab some animal fries if you’re feeling adventurous (or extra boozy). It tends to get crowded on weekend nights after a party, but it’s a nice spot for your Uber or Lyft driver to drop you off. Plus, it’s also in a prime location to get back to the dorms where you’ll inevitably fumble with your Rebelcard, stumble through the door whilst spilling your milkshake over your sleeping roommate then wake up wondering why your breath smells like onions.


Best RSO: Spectrum

Winning in this category for the second year in a row, Spectrum is an organization dedicated to the LGBTQ community (though anyone may become a member). According to the group’s Facebook page, it focuses on education, advocacy, outreach and intersectionality. The first meeting of Fall 2017 will be Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union.




Best Sorority: Alpha Xi Delta

UNLV’s chapter, Iota Epsilon, was founded in 1999. The sorority helps women realize their potential through academics, philanthropy, intramurals and many other activities. The national organization, founded in 1893, has over 150,000 initiated members, according to its website. Their philanthropic partner is Autism Awareness.




Best Fraternity: Pi Kappa Alpha

UNLV’s chapter, Kappa Omicron, founded in 1997, was voted the best organization within the Interfraternity Council. The organization’s principles are integrity, intellect, high moral character and lifelong fraternal experience. ‘Pikes’ nationally have the largest average chapter size of North American fraternities, according to the national website.


Best multicultural Greek Council Organization

TIE: Alpha Phi Gamma and Alpha Psi Rho:

The Gamma Iota chapter of Alpha Phi Gamma was founded in 2010 at UNLV, becoming the first sorority dedicated to promoting Asian awareness on campus and in the state. The national organization set a common goal for each chapter of bringing together women of different nationalities through the bonds of friendship and sisterhood. The organization promotes scholarship, personal development and leadership.


UNLV’s Delta chapter of Alpha Psi Rho was founded in 2011 and is an Asian-Pacific Islander fraternity. The organization values brotherhood, academics, prosperity and strength, which it believes “captures the essence of what every gentleman excels at,” according to the chapter’s website.


Best National Pan-Hellenic Association Organization: Alpha Kappa Alpha


A national, historically black sorority founded 1908 at Howard University, this organization has over 290,000 initiated members. The organization focuses on the lifelong personal and professional development of each of its members and service, both locally and internationally.



Best Way to Avoid Signs, Petitions, Hecklers: Ear buds in, head down


Don’t want to make eye contact or otherwise interact with any of the many people trying to get your attention in the Free Speech Zone? Blast some music or a podcast, keep your head down and walk to your destination as fast as you can. That doesn’t mean some of the more determined petitioners, promoters and such won’t try to talk to you anyway, but it may lower the chances.

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