What's up at NMSU this fall?
Enrollment for one thing, especially among new freshmen. Occupancy in residence halls is up, too. And so is the number of activities meant to welcome new students to the university.
All in all, the changes have revitalized campus life.
"It's not just one thing - it's a lot of things coming together," said Missy Giacomelli, assistant director of housing and residence life.
The 2.2 percent increase in enrollment at the main campus, to 15,067 students, is due in part to new scholarship packages that allow many New Mexico students to enroll tuition-free, in-state tuition rates for El Paso-area residents, and more marketing to raise awareness of programs offered at NMSU, said Vice President for Administration Juan N. Franco.
The number of first-time freshmen increased by nearly 12 percent and undergraduate transfers were up more than 9 percent.
Hispanic student enrollment rose to 36 percent of the total student population, and overall minority enrollment accounts for 42 percent of the total. Among first-time freshmen, Franco said, there is no "majority" ethnic group. "We truly have a multicultural campus," he said.
New students this fall could take advantage of several new programs designed to help them adjust to university life. The ACE (Achieve, Connect, Enrich) mentorship program entered its second year and two new organizations were introduced - Freshman Council and Chile Seeds.
The ACE program pairs freshmen with mentors from the university's faculty and staff. A study of the program's first year found that ACE students received higher grades than non-ACE participants of the same class and rated their freshman year experience as positive more than non-participants.
The program "shows that we care about our students," said Scott Moore, ACE program director and assistant to the vice president for student affairs. "Students feel so connected, especially while they are making the transition to the university."
The Freshman Council is new this year. The Class of '01 Council is an Associated Students of NMSU program that aims to create unity and involvement among freshmen. The council elected its officers at Chile Camp, a new student orientation program run by ASNMSU.
Chile Seeds is an ASNMSU-sponsored program to promote leadership in the freshman class. Members will work with the Student Alumni Association to sponsor events and increase involvement in campus traditions.
Besides those initiatives, departments across campus have stepped up efforts to help new students with the transition to university life. For instance: Housing, Union Program Council, Greek Affairs and ASNMSU worked together to provide 21 straight days of programming and activities at the beginning of the fall semester.
The goal, said Housing's Giacomelli, is "to show students we want you here, we want you to feel welcome and have a good experience here."
A moving experience for all involved
Almost 150 members of Greek organizations and other volunteers helped freshmen settle into the residence calls Aug. 16 on Move-in Day. As they helped lug boxes and bags, the volunteers answered questions about NMSU.
David Hotz, assistant director for student organizations and programs, organized the Greek volunteers. A few days later he received an e-mail from a grateful father
|"...As I drove into the parking lot at Garcia Hall, I
was astounded by the number of fraternity and sorority members willing to
help unload my vehicle and carry items to (my daughter) Amy's room. These
young people are to be commended on their eagerness to participate in such
a trying physical task, and the polite, pleasant manner they displayed.
My oldest daughter is a student at Arizona State, and for the past three years I have struggled to haul furniture and fixtures to a third floor room without any assistance from the students there. It is a truly unique experience to have students help with move-in. These fraternity and sorority members, and you as coordinator of this project, need to know how thankful I am for the assistance.
Unfortunately, I did not think to get a last name, but Kyle was especially helpful with the refrigerator and some of the heavy items.
Mr. Hotz, and all the students involved, please accept my gratitude for a job well done, and for keeping NMSU the friendliest campus I have ever encountered in my 40+ years.
The campers attended focus sessions presented by faculty and administrators, participated in small discussion groups and registered for fall classes. They took part in a barbecue, tour of Mesilla and other activities that helped them make new friends. They stayed in Garcia Residence Hall and had the chance to choose roommates for the year. On their first day of camp they memorized the Aggie Fight Song.
The camp gave new freshman tools to make the most of their college careers - all before NMSU's upperclassmen returned to campus.
"I learned not to be fearful about coming to college," said camper Ysela Tellez. "I became aware of resources I didn't know existed."
As camp counselors, 25 NMSU students served as monitors to the members of the class of 2001.
Jesse Travis, who attended NMSU's first Chile Camp in 1996 and returned this year as camp counselor, found that "the continuing camaraderie between campers and counselors is a feeling that is hard to replicate."
Last year's camp, organized by the Associated Students of NMSU, drew 80 freshmen. This year, the organizers saw a 306 percent in crease in attendance. The camp was supported by more than $25,000 in corporate, local business and university sponsorships.
The campers this year began what they hope will become a tradition at NMSU when they elected officers for the Class of '01 Council. The council gives freshman opportunities to develop their leadership skills and a forum for class-sponsored projects.
Kelly Thorpe, Class of '98
Chile Camp '97 director
|Three freshman happy with their campus residences are, from left, Valerie Chowning of Edgewood, N.M., Ernest G. Pelletier of El Paso, Texas, and William Richardson of Farmington, N.M. Chowning prefers the quiet atmosphere of Women's Residence Center and its proximity to Corbett Center. Pelletier, in whose room the students are pictured, enjoys the friendliness of Garcia Residence Center, and Richardson likes living on campus with other members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Pelletier is freshman class president, and Chowning and Richardson are class representatives for the colleges of education and agriculture, respectively.|
|Adrianne Ford, left, a freshman from Silver City, N.M., appreciates regular talks with her ACE mentor, Terry Cook, associate director of NMSU's Center for Learning Assistance. The freshman works nearly 40 hours a week at Argus Pet Center in Las Cruces and is enrolled in five university classes. Cook provides time management tips and other advice for coping with a busy schedule. "It's always good to have somebody in your corner," Ford says of her mentor. The ACE partners often talk on Mondays, Ford's day off from work. With them is Q-Ball, who came in for a haircut.|
If you know of a high school junior or senior who may be interested in NMSU, let us know. When we receive the student's information, we will send him or her a welcome packet, and the Aggie tradition will continue to grow.
|Year in High School___________|
(Print, clip, and send to NMSU Admissions Office, MSC 3A, New Mexico State
University, P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001.)
|Panorama table of contents|
|Cover||Letters to the editor||Alumni/Friends||Campus/Sports||Homecoming '97|
|Center Spread||Foundation/Development||Profiles||Aggie Whirl||Looking Back/Pathfinder|
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