The duck pond, the quad, the rose gardens, Johnson Field — UNM Main Campus contains some of the most scenic and useful outdoor spaces in the city. From yoga to APD recruitment to weddings and much more, these locations host a wide variety of functions for students and the Albuquerque community alike.
Students, faculty, staff, and off-campus organizations in particular use these venues for the sharing of ideas and a diverse array of events.
Ryan Lindquist, associate director of the UNM Student Activity Center, said student organizations take advantage of UNM’s outdoor space more often than any other type of group.
Campus departments represent the second highest category of user, with off-campus organizations being third, he said.
“Outdoor space is used for all different types of things,” Lindquist said. “It is used for collecting signatures for petitions, information booths, noon-time concerts with Student Special Events, Hispanic Heritage Month events, all different kinds of things.”
According to the UNM Event Management System calendar, depending on the month, there can be anywhere from 20 to several hundred different organizations approved to make use of UNM’s outdoor spaces.
Recent activities have included groups passing out pamphlets, Pokemon Go charging stations, yoga, and musical performances.
Unsurprisingly, the fall and spring semesters, when classes are in session, are the most active periods for outdoor activities.
Although UNM’s outdoor space is used less when school is not in session, some of the most special events happen during the summer and winter off-seasons — in the last year, there has been an average of one outdoor wedding a month at UNM.
During the summer, EMS recorded four weddings in June and two in July.
The EMS webpage reveals that out of all on and off-campus organizations, the New Covenant Christian Church requests approval for soliciting information the most.
EMS reports over 107 visits from the off-campus church group within the last year and, during some months, the group as been on campus a total of 20 days.
Some of the most frequent users among on-campus organizations include the “Free Stuff Table” and Student Special Events, with around half as many event requests as New Covenant Church.
Erin Canon, a sophomore biology and psychology double major, said the outside spaces offer the UNM community opportunities to gather, as well as disseminate, information.
“It’s important to offer outside spaces for groups because many students don’t really know where to go looking for information. If they are interested in something it is often hard to find out where to go to get the resources you are looking for,” Canon said. “When groups are set up outside, it’s really easy and convenient for students to get useful information.”
Canon said that although she has found information in outdoor spaces useful, she has yet to encounter an organization that enticed her to do further research. She also noted that, sometimes, outdoor space users and events offer distractions that can cause her to be late to class.
“Often times they get in my way when I’m in a rush. I have 10 to 15 minutes between classes, which isn’t much time to get across campus. Its especially hard when they stop you while you are in a hurry,” she said. “Even when I tell them I’m in a hurry, they always ask me for one more minute. I believe it’s very useful for getting the word out to students, but I know they bother a lot of us.”
Carlos Bejarano, an athletic training major and SAC student employee, said that if a group wants to reserve an outdoor space on campus, it first has to create an account on the EMS website.. Once the account is created, the group simply submits a request for a space and waits approval.
According to SAC, all requests for outdoor spaces should be made prior to 24 hours of the event. The EMS website can be located through the SAC webpage and by selecting “Outdoor Space Reservations.”
Jonathan Natvig is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Natvig99.