The U’s diversity, athletics and location trump BYU’s merits

Hey, Utes! We all know there’s really no contest when it comes to rivalry between the U and BYU. BYU fans will always try to plead their case, but we know which school truly reigns supreme. On that note, let’s take a closer look at the U’s dominance over its southern rival.

Location, location, location. The U is at the heart of good Utah living. We are minutes from both our most happening city and the majority of Utah ski resorts, including the soon to be 7,000-acre resort combination of Vail-bought Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons, which, when completed, will serve as the largest ski resort in the nation. BYU’s Provo headquarters hardly competes in this area, with the notoriously small Sundance as its sole resort.

Salt Lake City is also home to downtown attractions that just don’t exist in Provo. We have an abundance of bars, unique eateries, clubs and many musical venues that Provo doesn’t offer. And if that wasn’t enough, SLC makes it easy to get to them with the public TRAX system and bicycle-friendly downtown streets.

Adding to our supremacy, our football team actually belongs to a conference, and it’s the Pac-12 — arguably the most elite overall conference in the nation. BYU’s football team declared independence in 2011 after serious NCAA conference rearrangements occurred in 2010. The problem with this setup is that it becomes difficult to schedule games with top-notch teams, especially when you don’t win many of them. The only independence BYU really achieved in this move was from national recognition.

Academically, the U and BYU are very competitive, or so I’ve heard. Traditionally, BYU has even been regarded by some as a better university when it comes to scholarly education. But while the U has yet to overtake BYU in overall academic rankings, we trump them, along with most universities, with our medical school and research programs, where we were the first to successfully implant an artificial heart. The U has also produced multiple Nobel Prize winners, including Mario Capecchi, who contributed immensely to the field of genetics.

The U prides itself in its promotion of diversity and individual beliefs and thought, as stated in its mission statement. As students at the U, we are encouraged to broaden our knowledge and understanding, challenge the status quo and enrich our educational experiences. Try that down south and it will most likely lead to termination either academically or professionally, as the case may be. In October of last year, Lynn K. Wilder wrote an article for an online news site based in New York about her experience as a BYU professor who found her own salvation outside the Mormon faith, but was unable to express it in a healthy way. For two years she and her husband had to drive hours each Sunday to attend a Christian church without getting caught and turned in by Provo locals. How does that happen in the 21st century?

While the rivalry is fierce between these two universities, I don’t think I’ll get much resistance on campus when I say the U is the place to be. I believe education is about more than grades and a degree. And while we’re highly recognized in many academic areas and advancing rapidly in many more, the U offers a progressive learning environment, a happening, top-notch lifestyle and an overall balanced university experience that can’t be offered elsewhere.

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