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Dia De Los Muertos

UNR Celebrates Día de los Muertos

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The beginning of Halloween not only brings out the costume themed parties and the cute kids dressed in adorable costumes, it also brings out the Day of the Dead festivities.

It is believed that the veil between the land of the living and the afterlife is the weakest, beginning the night of Halloween. The deceased are then able to visit with their families for 24 hours.

Let me start off by saying that El Día de los Muertos is not the Mexican version of Halloween. This two day holiday celebrates the lives of the deceased with fiestas and offerings to those who have made the long journey from the afterlife to Earth.

“Many Latin American families’ altars are done so privately and intimately, but you sit around and eat food and share stories about the people on the altar. It’s a way for people to keep their memories alive,” said Ricky Salazar, program coordinator at The Center on the university’s campus.

These practices originated thousands of years ago from the Aztecs, who considered mourning the dead to be disrespectful. Instead, they celebrate life and the lives of those who have passed.

“We do it in such a festive way that it becomes happy, even when it’s sad. It’s an attempt to honor their memories and share their stories,” said Salazar. They commemorate the dead with altars, or ofrendas in Spanish. They decorate the altars to welcome back the dead to the land of the living. Each are personalized by their own family, but most will contain some sort of food or drink to give to the travelers as a reward for the long journey.

The Center for Cultural Diversity hosted their own event on Wednesday October 25th for groups of students to make their own altar. The groups were provided tools and supplies needed such as paper, candles, sugar skulls, flowers, plastic tablecloths, and banners.

The altars will be up from October 25th to November 1st. On the 1st of November, they held a reception where they crowned the best altar.

First place winner was Lambda Theta Pi, a latino fraternity on campus.

“For me, it’s the notion of connecting student to their roots. Most students know but don’t understand El Día de los Muertos. My job is to help them explore and learn their identity through events like this,” Salazar concluded.

Tournament of Hope

The Fight Against Children’s Cancer

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Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation is a local charity organization that helps diagnosed children and their families with finances, support, and hope. They host events all over the city to raise awareness and money. Some of the important events are the yearly NNCCF Benefit Horse Show at Meadowview Equestrian Center and the Tournament of Hope.

They take not only financial donations, but blankets, hats, and stuffed animals as well. These items help the kids that go through relentless hours of chemotherapy to feel more comfortable and less nervous at long appointments. Throughout the process, the team at NNCCF is there to provide aid and advice to the family. They help negotiate prices such as travel, medical, and hotel expenses. When a child successfully completes their chemotherapy, there is a special event where they ring a silver bell, signaling the end of their battle.

The Tournament of Hope, one of the biggest events they host, took place in September. They have raised $1.4 million, and this year the tournament held 144 golfers. The event has strengthened their resources and expanded their support within Nevada. They also host St. Baldrick’s, where anyone can register to shave their head in support of the children losing their hair during chemotherapy.

NNCCF has raised over $1.6 million in funds for the head shaving event. Their benefit horse show has also grown in the past six years from $10,000 to $60,000 raised, and from 100 volunteers to 400. It is now a three-day event that hosts live auctions, large corporate sponsors, and a speaker who has undergone the harsh treatment. The continuous expansion of NNCCF just goes to show what we can do when we put our minds to it.

As a local organization for such an important cause, it is vital that NNCCF gains awareness and attention so that they can continue to help these children. Their future goal is to fund treatment specifically for children that does not have the same effects as the adult treatment. Although 80% of children with cancer survive through the process, two-thirds of children suffer long lasting effects from the harsh treatment.

Shirley Folkins-Roberts, the co-founder of NNCCF says they hope to better the treatment so that the adult treatment does not ravage their bodies.

Roberts is passionate about the families that come to them for help and the stories that they tell. For 14 years, they have continually expanded and reached out to more families than ever before. They have raised $3.9 million for 483 families and grown 100 times bigger in revenue.

From one staff member, they have expanded to eight with the help from full time volunteers. With many family activities, as well as the Inspire Scholarship for survivors, they have changed so many lives. Now NNCCF even goes on a yearly trip to Washington D.C. and takes families to advocate on a national level with representatives for children’s cancer research.

Roberts is a co-founder along with her husband and her best friend, Debby. It has allowed me to see the best side of the community and the generosity of Nevada, said Roberts.

I have had the privilege of knowing and supporting some of the bravest people I will ever meet, including the children and young adults for which the diagnosis changes them, she continued emotionally.

Roberts is proud to say that NNCCF has become a sanctuary for the children affected by this diagnosis. The journeys of these angels are represented by the Wall of Courage which shows the battles they have undergone and the courage they have gained.

There are many ways to actively be involved in the fight against children’s cancer, and NNCCF always has an open position for anyone interested. Anybody wishing to be involved can call them at (775) 825-0888 or visit their website

From the Holiday Adopt-A-Family which provides gifts to the family, or volunteering to make baskets at the Tournament of Hope, there is no shortage of things to help out with. Even students at UNR can visit their tailgates to assist them. NNCCF has grown tremendously and gained a massive group of support, and they can aid more children with Nevada’s generosity and kindness.

room full of stuffed animals and plants

Local Business Review: Natural Selection

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Off of St Lawrence Avenue in the heart of Midtown you’ll find Natural Selection, an eclectic, whacky boutique where you can find anything from rare plant species to animal skeletons. The store has been open for a little over four years now and is a great place to find unusual gifts or expand your house plant collection.

Upon walking in you’ll find exotic taxidermied animal heads hung on every wall, vibrant green plants swinging from the ceiling, and a collection of books sitting on the center table. If you’re looking to spruce up your college apartment, you can buy succulents of all shapes and colors for $5. Among other eccentric store items you’ll find rabbit foot key chains, geodes, and various animal bones for just a buck. Natural Selection takes pride in being, well, all natural. Everything you see in store is the real deal.


Local Business Review: Holey Schmidt Donuts

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One of the newest donut shops in Reno is so sweet, it makes visitors feel like they’re on a sugar rush. As if the Discovery Museum located in downtown Reno wasn’t already fun enough, the addition of Holey Schmidt Donuts this past February makes for a great attraction. Owners Galen and Cadi Schmidt offer a wide variety of flavors, ranging from the basic chocolate sprinkle to the ultimate throwback for 90’s kids: the cosmic brownie. This hip, youthful shop located in Midtown is visited by children and adults alike. With art on the walls proclaiming to “Keep Reno Sweet,” it helps the shop connect with prideful Nevadans and those looking for a cheat day indulgence.

While the daring may be drawn to the donuts loaded with candy and cookie crumbles, there’s no shame in choosing the classics. Old fashioned and chocolate sprinkles are seen as a go-to. The shop also sells a pretty impressive range of coffee and usually carries vegan donuts for the health-conscious on Tuesdays.

Overall, Holey Schmidt is known for its fun name, active presence on social media, and its very rich and flavorful donuts. They often restock throughout the day, and the staff does it pretty quickly based on what’s popular.

The Jungle Cafe

Local Business Review: Java Jungle

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In the depths of downtown in the Riverwalk District, there stands a quaint little coffee house that goes by Java Jungle, or more recently named “The Jungle.” The Jungle is a very trendy and open environment that allows anybody to come and sip coffee while enjoying the presence of the nearby river and downtown altogether.

In addition, The Jungle has a certain edge to it that makes it stand out from the other coffee shops in Reno, and that is at night it turns into a hip dive bar and serves alcohol. In 2013, Jungle Vino and Java Jungle joined forces and merged their companies with the idea that cocktails and wine can also bring people together the same way coffee does.

The Jungle offers wine tastings paired with live music and gourmet food for a better coffee shop experience. The Barroon is a new addition to The Jungle which has the goal of capturing presence in an intimate setting. The Barroon holds the wine tastings and other special events like open mic night every Monday. Next time you are thinking of hitting downtown and going to your normal bars, try The Jungle for a different, more enriching kind of night.