Student life @the U
Close to 50% of freshman live on campus, but most students choose to live elsewhere after their first year, with 13% of all undergraduates living on campus. The university is located in a large metropolitan area, but many students live in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the university. An additional 1,115 family apartments are available to students, staff, and faculty. One of the university's primary four goals for long-term campus growth is to increase student engagement through the addition of on-campus housing, intramural fields, athletic centers, and a new student activity center.
The current student activity center, the A. Ray Olpin University Union, is a common gathering place for university-wide events such as Crimson Nights, roughly monthly student activity nights; PlazaFest, a fair for campus groups at the start of the school year; and the Grand Kerfuffle, a concert at the end of the school year. The building includes a cafeteria, computer lab, recreational facilities, and a ballroom for special events. The Union also houses the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, the Union Programming Council which is in charge of promoting student life on campus through events like Crimson Nights, and ASUU (the Associated Students of the University of Utah), which is responsible for appropriating funds to student groups and organizations on campus. ASUU holds primary and general elections each year for student representatives, typically with 10–15% of the student population voting.
Due to the large number of LDS Church members at the university, there is an LDS Institute of Religion building near main campus, as well as several LDS student groups and 46 campus wards. Approximately 650 students are part of 6 sororities and 8 fraternities at the university, most of which have chapter houses on "Greek Row" just off campus.
The University of Utah has a dry campus, meaning that alcohol is banned on campus. In 2004, Utah became the first state with a law expressly permitting concealed weapons on public university campuses. The University of Utah tried to uphold its gun ban but the Utah Supreme Court rejected the ban in 2006.
The university has several public broadcasting affiliations, many of which utilize the Eccles Broadcast Center. These stations include KUED channel 7, a PBS member station and producer of local documentaries; KUEN channel 9, an educational station for teachers and students from the Utah Education Network; KUER 90.1 FM, a public radio affiliate of National Public Radio, American Public Media, and Public Radio International; and K-UTE 1620.
NewsBreak is the student-run television newscast on campus. During 2011, the program celebrated its 40th anniversary. Broadcasts air every Thursday night at 10 pm during the fall and spring semesters on KUEN.
The Daily Utah Chronicle, also referred to as the Chrony, has been the university's independent, student-run paper since 1890. It publishes daily on school days during fall and spring semesters and weekly during summer semester. The paper typically runs between eight and twelve pages, with longer editions for weekend game guides. The paper converted to a broadsheet format in 2003 when the Newspaper Agency Corporation began printing it. The Society of Professional Journalists selected the newspaper as one of three finalists for best all-around daily student newspaper in the nation in both 2007 and 2008. Staff from the Chronicle feed into Utah journalism circles, some of them rising to considerable prominence, such as former editor Matt Canham, whose work with The Salt Lake Tribune earned him the Don Baker Investigative Reporting Award from the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The University of Utah Press, the oldest press in Utah and now part of the J. Willard Marriott Library, publishes books on topics including the outdoors, anthropology and archaeology, linguistics, creative nonfiction, Mesoamerica, Native American studies, and Utah, Mormon, and Western history. The university is also home to a national literary journal, Quarterly West.
The university has 7 men's and 11 women's varsity teams. Athletic teams include men's baseball, basketball, football, golf, skiing, swimming/diving, and tennis and women's basketball, cross country, gymnastics, skiing, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The school's sports teams are called the Utes, though some teams have an additional nickname, such as "Runnin' Utes" for the men's basketball team. The university participates in the NCAA's Division I (FBS for football) as part of the Pac-12 Conference. There is a fierce Utah–BYU rivalry, and the Utah–BYU football game, traditionally a season finale, has been called the "Holy War" by national broadcasting commentators. The university fight song is "Utah Man", commonly played at athletic games and other university events. In 1996, Swoop was introduced as the new mascot of the University of Utah. Because of relationships with the local Ute Indians, Utah adopted a new mascot. While still known as the Utes, Utah is now represented by the Red-tailed Hawk known for the use of his tail feathers in Ute head-dresses, and said he "Reflects the soaring spirit of our state and school".
In 2002, the university was one of 20 schools to make the U.S. News & World Report College Sports Honor Roll. In 2005, Utah became the first school to produce No. 1 overall draft picks in both the NFL draft and NBA draft for the same year. Alex Smith was picked first overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 NFL Draft, and Andrew Bogut was picked first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2005 NBA Draft. The university has won ten NCAA Skiing Championships, most recently in 2003, as well as the 1977 AIAW National Women's Skiing Championship.
The men's basketball team won the NCAA title in 1944 and the NIT crown in 1947. Arnie Ferrin, the only four-time All-American in Utah basketball history, played for both the 1944 and 1947 teams. He also went on to help the Minneapolis Lakers win NBA Championships in 1949 and 1951. Wat Misaka, the first person of Asian descent to play in the NBA, also played for Utah during this era.
Utah basketball rose again to national prominence when head coach Rick Majerus took his team, including guard Andre Miller, combo forward Hanno Möttölä, and post player Michael Doleac, to the NCAA Final Four in 1998. After eliminating North Carolina to advance to the final round, Utah lost the championship game to Kentucky, 78–69.
In 2004–2005, the football team, coached by Urban Meyer and quarterbacked by Alex Smith, along with defensive great Eric Weddle, went 11–0 during the regular season and defeated Pittsburgh 35–7 in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, becoming the first team from a conference without an automatic Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bid to go to a BCS bowl game. The team ended its perfect 12–0 season ranked 4th in AP polling.
2008–2009 was another undefeated year for the football team, coached by Kyle Whittingham, as they finished the season 13–0 and defeated Alabama 31–17 in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Utah finished the season 2nd in AP polling, their highest rank ever. At the end of the season, the Utes were the only unbeaten team in the country, with the nation's longest active streak of bowl victories (8).
The Utah Utes moved to the Pac-12 Conference for the start of the 2011–2012 football season. They are in the South Division with University of Colorado, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, UCLA and University of Southern California. Their first game in the Pac-12 was at USC on September 10, 2011, and resulted in a 23–14 Utah loss.
The women's gymnastics team, coached by Megan Marsden, has won ten national championships, including the 1981 AIAW championship, and placed 2nd nationally eight times. As of 2013, it has qualified for the NCAA championship every year since 1976, the only program to do so. The program has averaged over 11,000 fans per meet 1992–2010 and has been the NCAA gymnastics season attendance champions 16 of these 19 years. In 2010, there was an average of 14,213 fans per meet, the largest crowd being 15,030.
The university marching band, known as the "Pride of Utah", perform at all home football games, as well as some away games and bowl games. They performed at the 2005 BCS Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the 2009 BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the Inaugural Parade of President Barack Obama.
The band began as a military band in the 1940s. In 1948, university president A. Ray Olpin recruited Ron Gregory from Ohio State University to form a collegiate marching band. Support for the band dwindled in the 60s, and ASUU (the Associated Students of the University of Utah) discontinued its funding in 1969. The band was revived in 1976 after a fund raising effort under the direction of Gregg I. Hanson. As of 2011, the band is under the direction of Dr. Brian Sproul.
Men's rugby club
In 2012, Utah's men's rugby club was suspended for an unspecified alcohol 'incident' for the 2012–2013 rugby year.