Adam Cronis

UNLV’s student body president talks about the school’s fragile reputation and fickle campus spirit

Being a leader in good times is difficult enough, but with UNLV having been dealt significant budget cuts and now facing another 6.9 percent reduction after the special session of the Nevada Legislature, Student Body President Adam Cronis has had some significant weight on his shoulders. The 23-year-old Lake Tahoe transplant, who puts in 70 hours a week on campus, is one of only six two-term presidents at UNLV in the past 25 years. His job is answering to the 20,000-student constituency, and from class sizes to scheduling, there isn’t an issue he doesn’t hear about. Yet it’s hard to spot frustration when he talks about his job and the situation on campus. He is majoring in political science and history, and with his own graduation around the corner, Cronis is using his last couple of months in office trying to preserve whatever he can of UNLV’s hard-fought reputation.

What’s it like to be a student at UNLV now?

UNLV is still a great school, and I’ve been afforded a lot of great opportunities, but there’s a sense of frustration. Students have been hammered with tuition increases and face the possibility of their programs being cut or eliminated altogether. There’s a lot of uncertainty. I’m graduating, so I don’t face the negative impacts all the students coming up will face. At the same time I really worry about the credibility my degree is going to have and the credibility their degree is going to have.

Do you think the budget situation has steered students away from UNLV?

I think it could. The enrollment numbers have been actually a little bit higher this year than last year, but I think a lot of that is the economy and people coming back to school to polish up and look for new job opportunities. I think this is having an impact, especially [with another] round of cuts. It could dissuade some people from coming.

What’s your least favorite part of the job?

Petty squabbles and arguments. There are some people in organizations like this who just aren’t very good people. It’s just like anywhere else—you get some good people and some bad people, and you can get in some very strong disagreements with the people who may not be the best-natured. I won’t miss that. Unfortunately, you see some of the root causes we face in higher levels of governance. You see it early on. Those bad habits start early.

Does school spirit really hinge on the basketball team winning?

That’s a huge part of it. If they don’t do well, things are considerably different on campus. I think it’s branching out to more than just basketball, but basketball is still the flagship.

What’s your favorite place to go in Las Vegas?

I’d say the top of the Stratosphere. Gazing out over everything is very calming. I think it really sets your mind free.

Why do you want a political science degree?

I guess I’m naive enough to think that you can still do some good in government. I think that political science helps to provide you the base in which to build your abilities to craft policy and come up with pragmatic solutions.

Who is inspirational to you?

It probably sounds kind of clichéd, but my dad has had a big impact on me. He’s a very hard worker, and he took two or three jobs to support us in the past and never complained about it. I’d like to think I have those qualities.

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