News Column

Operation move-in for new and returning WNMU students is Saturday

August 15, 2014

By Susan Dunlap, Silver City Sun-News, N.M.

Aug. 15--SILVER CITY -- It's that time. Western New Mexico University is welcoming freshmen and welcoming back sophomores, juniors and seniors this weekend. Saturday is operation move-in day starting at 9 a.m. and the final new student orientation will take place Saturday as well.

Saturday evening, WNMU and Silver City MainStreet Project will host Bash on Broadway, an event to welcome new students to the downtown Silver City area. It kicks off with WNMU President Joe Shepard's state of the university address at 5:30 p.m. in the Silver City Museum's patio area. After that, students and community members can expect live music, games and dancing from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Broadway between Bullard and Texas streets.

What's new for students at WNMU this fall?

According to Abe Villareal, communications director at WNMU, students can expect a variety of changes on campus when they arrive this weekend. Here's a look at what students can expect.

Mustang Village Building C

One of the first things students will notice when they check in Saturday morning is the completion of a third dormitory on campus. The Mustang Village C building, part of the larger Mustang Village complex on the hill overlooking campus, is open to new residents. Villareal said WNMU is trying to move away from the traditional dormitory layout and provide living quarters that have the look and feel of an apartment, rather than a dorm. Everyone in the Mustang Village has a separate bedroom. What makes the C building unique is that, in that building, everyone will have a separate bathroom.

In the A and B buildings in the Mustang Village, students still share a bathroom with one other person.

Meal Plan

The meal plan is a little different this year.

"We've created more options for students," Villareal said.

Gone is the one meal plan that costs over $2,000. Now students have six different meal plan choices and the price range runs from $2,128 to $400.

"We listened to the students," Villareal said. "They wanted more options."

Besides the dining hall, students have a deli and a coffee shop where they can purchase food and beverages with their meal card. According to Villareal, the new meal plan options give students greater flexibility in how they spend their money and what and where they can eat.

Director of Student Life

Another change on campus is WNMU's new director of student life, Jessica Morales. Morales is trying to institute a charter bus that will take WNMU students to San Diego for the exhibition game the WNMU Mustangs play against the University of San Diego's Toreros in the fall, according to Villareal.

"We have so many students from southern California, (the exhibition game) is a big deal," Villareal said.

Something else that falls under Morales' supervision is the student programming board. Villareal said this group formed last spring, but starting this fall, the student programming board will be a formal group. Through the all-student run programming board, students get to decide what sort of events they want to see happening on campus, and the students are given a budget by the university to make those events happen.

"So far, everything they've presented, we've done," Villareal remarked.

Light Hall

An important change this semester is the opening of Light Hall, scheduled to open its doors the first week of October, which is homecoming week.

Light Hall has been under renovation since the spring. When it is complete, it will house the only movie theater in Grant County. Villareal said it will show first-run movies. In addition, the building will have additional performance space for lectures, solo music performances and offer outdoor seating.

"We're trying to move toward making the campus a place where students can spend a lot of time outside," Villareal said. "We want them to do more besides just sit in their dorm."

Villareal said WNMU expects students to arrive this weekend from 19 different countries in addition to other parts of the United States and other parts of New Mexico. The freshman class is approximately 500 students, and about 300 of those will live on campus. According to Villareal, about 99 percent of those 300 are coming from outside the tri-county area to attend WNMU.

One student, Josh McIntire, who is the kicker for WNMU's Mustang football team, said he came to WNMU from San Diego when he started as a freshman. Now 20 years old, the college junior said he's looking forward to the new school year at Western and meeting the new students.

"You get to meet a lot of new people," McIntire said. "There's a whole other culture out here."

The college kicker is also looking forward to the upcoming football season. The football players have been in training all this week.

"We're ready to win," McIntire said. "I've got a feeling."

Susan Dunlap can be reached at 575-538-5893 ext. 5803.


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Source: Silver City Sun-News (NM)

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