Welcome Back Days are upon us, and UNM’s Student Activities Center is wasting no time bringing resident Lobos and first-time college students together.
Last week’s Friday Night Live kicked off a weeklong series of University-sponsored activities and events.
According to SAC, about 2,500 students Friday evening made their way into the Student Union Building, where more than 50 student groups ranging from young Libertarians to acappella fanatics tabled and advertised their clubs.
The idea behind the event was simple: give students something to do that will increase their exposure to University life, said Ryan Lindquist, SAC director.
“It’s the best place to meet student organizations, because sometimes it’s intimidating to pick up the phone or send someone an email,” he said of the event currently in its 12th year.
Lindquist was apt to express his appreciation for one student organization in particular, ASUNM.
“ASUNM stepped up to the table and allowed us to continue this event,” he said. “With budget cuts we had to get creative with a lot of things. FNL probably wouldn’t have happened without the assistance of ASUNM, the student government this year.”
Despite budget cuts, SAC was still able to put on the event, which cost about $9,000 and featured an abundance of dancing, games and food.
The event was free and open to all students.
“We don’t allow outside entities to come in, because we want this to be purely a UNM event,” Lindquist said.
Some students found the event to be a great opportunity to try new things.
“I was kind of shy during high school,” freshman Richard Dang said. “I wanted to make college more social.”
After seeing them tableing at the event, Dang said he will be joining the Korean Club.
For UNM’s student organizations, FNL is a great opportunity to recruit new club members.
“We normally get about 50-80 auditions from here and the other Welcome Back Days,” said Ellen Lusetti, the president of Something Major, a UNM acappella club.
It is also an opportunity for student organizations to increase their exposure among students on campus.
Some organizations, such as Young Americans for Liberty, use these events as a way to spread their message to new students.
“We try to focus on getting more people educated,” said President of Young Americans for Liberty Jess Ceron, who was hoping to recruit at least 20 new club members.
Events like FNL held during UNM’s Welcome Back Days are where many organizations will recruit most of their new members, especially freshmen.
“We’re just trying to recruit as many freshmen as possible,” Ceron said, remarking that these new students bring new ideas and add variety to her club.
Friday Night Live is not the only time that new UNM students and organizations have the chance to interact.
Welcome Back Days allows students to become engaged through free on-campus events throughout the month of August. These events include: UNM Communities Day, Student Organization Day and Campus Employment and Community Service Day.
Students who are interested in learning about these events and others during Welcome Back Week can view a detailed schedule on the Student Activities Center webpage.
Timber Mabes is a Culture Reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be conacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timbermabes.