Cristal Kwan (left) shows Mike Nguyen (right) her phone in the newly renovated East Campus Union on Monday, March 9, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Many students rarely take the short bus ride from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s City Campus to East Campus for anything more than the UNL Dairy Store and the bowling alley, but exciting new opportunities pop up further east on Vine street for UNL students every day. 

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources received approval for a new undergraduate major — statistics and data analytics — which is the first time in UNL’s history that this credential will be available to undergraduate students, according to Tiffany Heng-Moss, the dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

“The statistics and the data analytics program is a program that is going to help meet workforce needs here in Nebraska,” Heng-Moss said. “There's definitely a need in that space for job opportunities also on a national front and on a global front.”

The college will begin accepting students pursuing this major in fall 2022, Heng-Moss said.

East Campus is also focused on improving its commitment to inclusive excellence and equity through the establishment of several programs, according to Heng-Moss.

The CASNR Emerging Leaders in Diversity is a new program intended to get students involved with leadership and diversity initiatives both on and off campus, according to the CASNR website.

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences is a national organization that re-launched a chapter at UNL this academic year. The university had a chapter years ago, but a group of current students were passionate about revitalizing the program, Heng-Moss said.

“By establishing a MANRRS chapter on UNL’s campus we hope to broaden students' horizons, thus creating a more diverse community within the CASNR department and related career fields,” the UNL MANRRS recognized student organization constitution reads.

These programs ensure inclusive excellence is always at the forefront when considering Agriculture and Natural Resources, according to Heng-Moss. 

“We are always leading with Inclusive Excellence, a commitment that's really important in that space,” Heng-Moss said.

There have also been several facility updates on East Campus. The newly renovated Nebraska East Union has a “state of the art dining hall,” Starbucks and an expanded Great Plains room. This room is a ballroom type of a facility, according to Heng-Moss, that allows students to connect with one another, instructors and advisors.

“Student Affairs and the union team have done an amazing job of bringing some of the services that you find on City Campus also out to East Campus,” Heng-Moss said. “We've got CAPS out here. We've got the military and veterans services. OASIS has a pop up. You name it, and we're finding those services out here on East Campus.”

The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons opened on East Campus in January 2021. This building is analogous to the Adele Learning Commons on City Campus, according to Heng-Moss. The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons contains the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, a newly opened Dunkin’ Donuts and a testing center. 

There have also been renovations to Filley Hall, the former food processing center. According to Heng-Moss, that space has been converted into collaborative spaces for students, and the old Dairy Store space has been converted into an East Campus Welcome Center to welcome prospective students. 

Filley Hall is also the location of the Early College and Career STEM Program, which prepares students in areas of food, energy, water and societal systems: FEWS — pronounced “fuse.” This program is designed to build a connection between CASNR and Lincoln Public Schools.

“Through hands-on, immersive experiences and early college pathways, the program will prepare Northeast students in the areas of food, energy, water and societal systems,” according to the program website.

This program is preparing high school students for their college education and preparing them for future careers, according to Heng-Moss. With the renovations on Filley Hall, they now have a “hub.”

“There's an open invitation,” Heng-Moss said. “If our university communities have not had the chance to visit East Campus within the last several months, we extend an invitation to come check out the new facilities that we have out here.”