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Posted on Sep 4, 2014

Ag Day Celebrates State’s Top Industry

NC State’s second-annual “Ag Day” celebration will earn an undergraduate College of Agriculture and Life Sciences student an endowed scholarship to study in one of its programs that benefit the state’s top industry.

The two-day celebration of NC State’s agricultural heritage – sponsored and organized by CALS, Wolfpack athletics and Wolfpack Sports Properties – begins with lead-in activities on Friday and culminates with Saturday’s 6 p.m. football game against Old Dominion at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Crowd at Ag Day last year.

Last year’s Ag Day was a successful tip-of-the-hat to N.C.’s top industry.

Anchored by CALS, Ag Day receives support from presenting sponsors BASF, Case IH, NC Farm Bureau, North Carolina Soybean Producers Association, Bayer CropScience and Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina, as well as from supporting sponsors Agri Supply and North Carolina Pork Council.

“Sponsors of this year’s event are making an investment in future ag leaders by creating a scholarship for our students that will impact the future of this state’s almost $80 billion industry,” said CALS Dean Richard Linton.

The festivities will begin Friday with a private screening of the Hollywood-produced documentary “Farmland.” Faculty, staff, students and sponsors are invited to get tickets to watch the film from award-winning director James Moll, which gives an inside look into the lives of young American farmers and ranchers.

Saturday, CALS will host its annual alumni tailgate, which will include several statewide youth organizations. All fans can take advantage of the entire Ag Day experience by visiting machinery and truck displays and other exhibits at Fan Zone between PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium. The first 5,000 fans to visit the CALS tent at Fan Zone will receive a free T-shirt, while corporate sponsors will offer free food samples throughout the day.

Inside the stadium, videos highlighting North Carolina’s agriculture will be featured during every quarter on the videoboard and multiple on-field presentations will be made throughout the game.

Parking lots open at 1 p.m. for the game, while Fan Zone activities begin at 3 p.m. The Walk of Champions takes place at 3:30 p.m. and the stadium gates open at 4:30 p.m. A limited number of single-game tickets are available through the NC State Ticket Office.

Since the forecast for Saturday again calls for hot weather, the athletics department will again offer ice and cooling stations around the stadium. Fans are encouraged to be fully aware of the heat-management plan that will be implemented on game day.

Visit Gameday Central for complete information.

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Posted on Sep 3, 2014

Bright Ideas, Brought to Life

At NC State, ideas become solutions. Students, faculty and staff take sparks of ideas and fan them into flames of invention through experiential education.

Students experience hands-on learning and creating in six makerspaces across campus that are designed to give life to ideas and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Hunt Library Makerspace

The library of the future is also home to the technology of the future. Head to the Hunt Library Makerspace for access to 3-D scanning and printing. Located on the fourth floor of the ultramodern building, this makerspace supports students, faculty and staff in learning about emerging technologies and bringing their creations to life.

The Entrepreneurship Initiative Garage

NC State students with a passion for entrepreneurship find a place to pursue it in the Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) Garage. Located in Innovation Hall at Wolf Ridge Apartments on Centennial Campus, the Garage provides a common space to foster new ideas and work on entrepreneurial endeavors.

“We are eager for students from all over the university to gather here to work, learn and share,” says Tom Miller, EI’s executive director. “We want to support these students in becoming North Carolina’s future job creators.”

Open to students from all disciplines, the Garage includes everything from prototyping studios and lounges to woodworking shops and power tools.

Open Hardware Makerspace

The Open Hardware Makerspace is a catalyst for turning big ideas into real-world results. Designed to empower student creativity, celebrate hands-on experimentation and open the door to cutting-edge technologies, this makerspace is the stepping stone to developing an entrepreneurial endeavor before taking it to the Garage.

Operated by student volunteers, the Open Hardware Makerspace also builds community partnerships and provides programming and outreach for local schools.

The Crafts Center

The NC State Crafts Center has everything students need to enhance their artisanal skills, whether they’re creating their first clay vase in the pottery studio or building an animatronic model in the woodworking studio. There’s something for everyone looking to channel creativity into art. The Crafts Center offers classes for all skill levels.

Several NC State colleges also have their own makerspaces, open to their own students and others:

CIRCUIT Research Studio

The CIRCUIT Research Studio is designed for graduate students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to work across disciplinary boundaries with team members and faculty from other colleges. This makerspace supports solution-driven projects developed in association with graduate coursework ranging from digital media and humanities to physical computing and mobile media.

Technology, Engineering & Design Education Laboratories

The Technology, Engineering & Design Education Laboratories cultivate appreciation and understanding of new technologies among students in the College of Education. These labs provide an experiential foundation for tomorrow’s teachers.

Advanced Media and Materials Laboratories

In the College of Design, the Advanced Media Lab gives students and faculty access to the latest digital hardware and software. The Materials Lab features wood, metal and welding shops; weaving and sewing studios; fibers and dyes; and a range of printing tools.

The Troxler Design Center

The Troxler Design Center is the hub for senior design projects in the College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The Troxler center is both a lounge for incubating ideas and a lab for designing and prototyping them.

Digging Deeper

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Posted on Aug 28, 2014

New Tuition Rules Impact Financial Aid

NC State’s pool of resources for students who need help paying for their tuition is well-stocked for the moment, but when new guidelines adopted by the UNC Board of Governors kick in next year, some who search for financial aid could come up a little short.

The new guidelines, adopted in early August to be implemented for the 2015-16 academic year, will put a limit on tuition-funded financial aid and cap tuition increases at 5 percent annually.

New Limits

The financial aid limitations involve the portion of tuition increases that is set aside for students in need of financial assistance. Currently, more than 25 percent of all tuition increases are set aside for financial aid. The new cap is 15 percent.

According to Krista Domnick, director of the Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid, NC State currently exceeds the 15 percent cap for future funding, which means it cannot set aside additional tuition revenues for need-based financial aid until that threshold is no longer exceeded.

“NC State students are fortunate that the university has had a long-standing commitment to needy students and has invested in this important resource over time,” Domnick says. “So there’s a pool of funding still available to assist students in need. While additional revenues cannot be set aside at present, NC State continues to offer a quality but affordable education.”

For the 2013-14 academic year, about 69 percent of NC State students applied for financial aid and 53 percent demonstrated financial need, Domnick said. Those percentages won’t likely change, but there will likely be less money available for students with demonstrable financial need.

“The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid has a capable and talented staff of professional financial aid counselors that continue to be available to help families understand the costs and identify resources to make an NC State education accessible for them,” Domnick says.

Capping Tuition Increases

The 5 percent cap on tuition increases will also go into effect for 2015-16, but that may not be the benefit to students that it seems, according to NC State student body president Rusty Mau. Over the last five years, tuition has increased by 44 percent while state spending per student has fallen by 13 percent. With a 5 percent annual raise in tuition prices, tuition will essentially double every 14 years.

“Our state will no longer be a leader in providing affordable higher education to its residents if we continue down this path,” Mau wrote in a June opinion piece in The News & Observer of Raleigh.

Mau, a Park Scholar who is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education finance, understands the economics of rising prices, but is troubled by the coinciding reductions in state funding.

“It’s a downward spiral we have already started,” Mau said in an interview.

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