Students who want to see improvements made to unsightly areas of campus can submit a photo to the UNM Staff Council Environs Committee, which will select a winning location to be improved.

The Ugly Duckling Contest, which is hosted by the committee, will allow students to provide the committee with input on which spaces on campus should be improved. Contestants should send pictures of landscapes that they believe need improvement, and can suggest how they would like the space to be arranged to look better.

Senior University Communication Representative and project administrator Karen Wentworth said that in past years, the Staff Council has raised money for changes in several places on campus, but that this is the first time students can contribute by making their own suggestions through the contest. She said that in the past, the committee chose the areas that could be enhanced with the money they had, which included planting pear trees in the area in front of Johnson Center and plants near the Mechanical Engineering building.

“Other people might have an idea what they would like to see improved,” she said. “It makes it easier to see what students think about that, and helps them contribute in the whole process.”

UNM student Audrey Ayala said the campus in general needs more trees, but that the areas outside the SUB and bus stops, such as the one next to Marron Hall, need plant life the most.

“We don’t have a lot of vegetation there,” she said. “I like the idea of putting more trees.”

Ayala said that it would be ideal if the University installed lights on trees in those areas and around the Duck Pond, which could be modeled on the multicolor lights at the Big-I. She said she wants the lights to change color and light up at night, which she said will beautify the campus.

“Where I-25 and I-40 cross, there are some lights that change colors,” she said. “We can slip the lights under the trees and they can change colors, and it will make it look really nice.”

Ayala said that while increasing vegetation near bus stops, the University can renovate stations so they can provide more shade to students waiting for shuttles.

UNM student Megan Drechsel said that in addition to vegetation near the SUB, she would like to see the ramp that goes to Zimmerman Library be renovated.

“I was in crutches for a while earlier this semester, and I found it kind of hard to get around,” she said. “It’s really scary up there. I wish we could make things more visible in there.”

Drechsel said that by altering the landscape of the area, the University can make the ramp less steep and more accessible to people using wheelchairs.

“I think it can be more accessible for everybody … especially for people with disabilities,” she said.

Wentworth said that funding for the project will be raised through donation jars at the bookstore on main campus and the Family and Community Medicine Center on north campus. She said that every cent counts and that anyone can help beautify the campus by donating spare change.

“We think that everybody thinks about what the campus looks like, and this is a way to concretely help us improve, at least in a small part,” she said.

Photograph submission deadline: Nov. 28
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