Changes Coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

nix-aerial-viewFrom the literary naturalist Loren Eiseley to geneticist George Beadle and engineer Harold Edgerton, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has always produced successful figures in the engineering, science, and technology fields. And as one of the leading teaching institutions in Nebraska, as well as a prominent research leader, the school has always paved the path in science fields.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was one of the first institutions west of the Mississippi River to award doctoral degrees (the first was physics in 1896) and the discipline of ecology was born in the botanical gardens of the school. It’s certainly a strong place for literature and the arts, as well, but there’s no doubt that STEM fields have always thrived in this space.

Soon, a new project will be completed that will change the face of UNL, geographically and otherwise. The new Nebraska Innovation Campus, nearing completion now, will be a research campus designed to facilitate partnerships with private sector businesses. With 2.2 million square feet, uniquely designed buildings, and amenities, the campus hopes to be the most sustainable research and technology campus in the entire United States.

However, this new campus means that the current UNL campus will be undergoing a facelift, as the Food Science & Technology program will move over to the new NIC campus. This means that over 200 faculty and staff will move out with the program, leaving room for new classes and space in the old Food Industry building on the East Campus. Rolando Flores, professor and department head of the Food Science & Technology program, told The Daily Nebraskan that “This is going to be a great opportunity, it’s a great move. We see our program enrollment among graduate students increasing, we see opportunities to work with industries closer, so then there will be opportunities for additional funding, for more graduate students.”

This move will make a massive difference for the food manufacturing that the Food Science & Technology program actually does on campus. With the addition of two pilot plants, students can produce samples and test product formulas or food ingredients. This helps students to prepare for future careers, but it also helps companies save money in showcasing their own ingredients. “We don’t have our equipment here just to show and tell to the students. We’re actually manufacturing products here for the industry,” Flores said. Students interested in food manufacturing or food-related product manufacturing can learn, grow, and benefit from the newly exciting opportunities happening in the program, especially in this brand-new innovation space.

As this change happens, the existing campus will see the construction of a new residence hall, recreation center, and renovations to the C.Y. Thompson Library. In other words, it’s an exciting time to be a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln!

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photo credit: innovate.unl.edu