Councils Receive Counsel

Those elected to city councils last night (see previous posts for election results), along with other town members, met today with actual city councilmen from across the state of Nebraska. They discussed issues facing real towns in Nebraska and the processes by which a city council operates. They also began passing some ordinances of their own, from new chants to regulations on fast-food restaurants.

Band and Chorus Get Organized

Yesterday afternoon, members of 2011 American Legion Cornhusker Boys’ State and American Legion Auxiliary Cornhusker Girls’ State met for the first time in Westbrook Music Building to begin their week of music-making in band and chorus. The Band Director is Mr. John Franssen, while the Chorus is directed by Dr. Peter Eklund. Unfortunately, the first rehearsal of the 2011  Boys’/Girls’ State Chorus was conducted behind-closed-doors, leaving us to wait in eager anticipation of the splendid performance the Chorus surely has in-store for us on Wednesday.

Mr. Franssen and the Ladies of 2011 Girls’ State

A Prospective Band Member from Yorktown

Dr. Eklund and the Chorus

Sheldon Sets New Stage for 2011 Boys’ State Pictures

After listening to the heated yet amicable face-off between State Party Chairmen Vic Covalt (Democrat) and Mark Fahleson (Republican), this years’ delegates processed out of Kimball Hall and around the corner to the front of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery to have their pictures taken. This session’s photos are the first not to be taken by The Picture Man, who sadly became victim of the struggling economy this past year. Instead, Legionnaire and Boys’ State Office Manager John Thompson stepped-up to become Boys’ State’s own picture man. Below are a couple of outtakes showing 1Lt. Cale Farquhar (red polo, back to the camera) giving marching orders to the men so they look their best before saying “Cheese!”

The Men of Gettysburg

Who Can Forget the Alamo?

University of Nebraska Announces Move to the Big Ten Conference

Earlier this afternoon, two delegates involved with the press, as well as two counselors involved with the press, got the opportunity to attend the official press conference held by the University of Nebraska, announcing its plans to join the Big Ten Conference. Among the speakers at the conference were Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Athletic Director Tom Osborne, Head Football Coach Bo Pelini, and Big Ten Commissioner James Delaney. Nebraska will indeed be joining the Big Ten Conference, and the official start date for Nebraska being a part of the Big Ten is July 1, 2011. According to Delaney, the Big Ten presidents voted unanimously to accept Nebraska’s request. He went on to call this “a historic moment.” He says that he is “proud that Nebraska is a member of our conference” and is “convinced…that Nebraska will be a great addition to the Big Ten Conference.” When Tom Osborne gave comments, he said that “it is really important to recognize the Big Twelve Conference.” He went on to say that Nebraska does not look down on them. “We have had good association with [them].”

As the floor was opened up for questions, more information was released. Delaney said that this was a relatively quick integration of a school. He said that the Big Ten Conference “…is stronger today than…yesterday as a result of Nebraska’s application to the Big Ten.” When asked about interest in current Big Twelve rivalries and the interest in continuing those rivalries, Osborne responded by stating his desire to continue playing Big Twelve teams, such as Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, or whomever. The possibility of hosting a bowl game at Memorial Stadium was thrown around, but no one could say for sure whether or not that was likely. Bo Pelini was asked how he felt about leaving old rivalries and perhaps picking up new ones, to which he responded, “I’m not a really emotional guy.”

The official press release noted several academic and community benefits of being a part of the Big Ten Conference, which are copied below.

1. Big Ten universities attract 12% of all federal research funding annually. They grant 14.5% of all doctoral degrees conferred in the US each year and 25% of all agricultural doctorates each year.

2. UNL would be considered for membership in the prestigious Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago. The CIC leverages faculty, funding, facilities, investments, and ideas to help the collective whole compete and succeed. Among its core projects are library collections and access; technology collaborations to build capacity at reduced costs; leveraging purchasing and licensing through economies of scale; leadership and development programs for faculty and staff; course-sharing mechanisms by which student may take courses at other consortium institutions; and study-abroad collaborations.

3. The Big Ten is the only NCAA Division I conference whose members all belong to the Association of American Universities, as does Nebraska.

4. Of UNL’s 10 peer institutions (by which it compares itself), five are Big Ten members (University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, and Purdue University).

5. The ability to recruit faculty would be enhanced. UNL already competes with Big Ten and other institutions to attract high-quality faculty; UNL would be able to offer access to CIC and other opportunities afforded by Big Ten affiliation. Similarly, new Ph.D.s and other graduates from Nebraska would find their opportunities widened through Big Ten collaborations.

6. Research collaborations with faculty at other institutions, already important and under way, would increase.

7. UNL’s alignment with the Big Ten will open doors to new investors, entrepreneurs, and others interested in expanding regional and national markets through opportunities presented by Nebraska Innovation Campus, Perlman said.

According to Perlman: “The Big Ten is a historically prestigious and stable academic community of scholars and students…The Big Ten, known for its athletic prowess, is highly regarded in academe for its academic and research enterprises. There is nothing but upside for UNL to join the Big Ten.” Below are some photos of the delegates and staff at the conference.



Boys’ State Blogger Michael Schreier, Newspaper Assistant Kyle Chesterman, and Schuyler Sharp and Aaron Hostepler, two of the editors for the Boys’ State Bulletin


The press

The podium and backdrop

Newspaper editors talking to a University of Nebraska representative

Chancellor Harvey Perlman

Big Ten Commissioner James Delaney

UNL Athletic Director Tom Osborne

Head Football Coach Bo Pelini

All of the media trucks outside

Boys’ State Track Meet Moves the Race from the Ballot Box to the Athletic Field

This afternoon, under the executive direction of Coach Larry Frost, the delegates took to the Ed Weir Track to compete in track and field events. This morning’s thunderstorm was little more than a memory beneath the blaring, humid sun. With skill and determination, the delegates gave their all in a variety of events, including: shot put, discus, high jump, long jump, 100 meter dash, 400 meter dash, 800 meter, 1600 meter, 4–100 meter, and 4–400 meter. At the end of the day, while the delegates thoroughly demonstrated their athletic skills, they also learned that their counselors still had a thing or two to teach them.

A high jumper from Bunker Hill

A high jumper from The Alamo

A long jumper from Gettysburg

A discus thrower from Belleau Wood

Delegates fly off the starting line

Educational Associate Tony Leckron fires the starter pistol to begin a race

Delegates fight for position on the track

Athletes mingle on the track in preparation for the next race

The crowd of enthusiastic and supportive fellow-delegate fans

Champions of the 4--400 relay (from left to right): Senior Counselor Philip Rohde (Manila Bay), Senior Counselor Garret Shaal (Manila Bay), Senior Counselor Mitchell Schultze (Belleau Wood), and Junior Counselor Zach Parshall (The Alamo)