Cherry and silver booths manned by University members lined the curves of the rotunda on Jan. 27 during the annual UNM Day at the state capitol.
From UNM College of Pharmacy’s health-related screenings to trivia on indigenous representation in New Mexican politics presented by American Indian Student Services (AISS), UNM organizations advocated for their programs at the Roundhouse.
“(AASS) is here to talk about the services we provide for Black students at (UNM),” Kirven said. “I am also here to talk about why our programming deserves funding to increase the number of African American high school students who attend the University.”
Veronique Arguello and Chenoa Scippio, students and program success leaders at American Indian Student Services (AISS), said they were at the capitol to “represent the Native student body at UNM.”
“We’re also here to talk to legislators, because a lot of our tribal scholarships and scholarships we get from UNM come from (governmental) dollars,” Arguello said.
One bill that would impact cultural groups on campus is HB 52. If passed, the $900,000 appropriation would effectively dole out $250,000 to Africana studies, Chicana and Chicano studies, Native American studies and the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute to “support leadership development (and) community-based engagement.”
As for the elected representatives of the undergraduate body, the 17 Associated Students of UNM members in attendance requested their capital outlay to “redesign (the corner of) Central and Girard,” according to ASUNM Chief of Staff Jacob Silva.
According to a factsheet provided by the ASUNM booth, “over 20 police reports have been filed regarding the area in the past year, many of which involved suspicious or intoxicated individuals.”
The factsheet highlighted “dim lighting and high walls” as a problem with the area and proposed that capital outlay will “discourage access to private spaces reinforce the feeling of UNM’s ownership and maintenance of the area and increase visibility.”
This initiative comes as ASUNM president Adam Biederwolf has previously said safety is the biggest issue facing the campus.
“Campus safety was our biggest priority in Santa Fe,” Biederwolf said. “Executive Director Adrian Schmitt put in a lot of hours perfecting our pitch for the renovation of Central (and) Girard, and with his hard work, I think the project will come to life in the near future.”
ASUNM vice president Madelyn Lucas said that aside from capital outlay, a “Student Loan Bill of Rights” (HB 116) was a main point of focus.
“HB 116 is a big one for us,” Lucas said. The bill would act in part as a licenser for student loan servicers and would set out qualifications for the “rights” of students regarding loans.
In all, Lucas said UNM Day is paramount in higher education advocacy at the legislature.
“(UNM Day) is important because students at UNM receive a lot of funding from the state so it’s important to know students are advocating for their education and that legislators are putting in the time to listen to them,” Lucas said.
ASUNM Appropriations Round Up
Nearly $16,000 was appropriated at the first full senate meeting of the semester on Jan. 29.
Women’s Soccer Club was appropriated $439 for gas mileage. Finance committee senator Ricardo Hill explained that the cuts were necessary because ASUNM cannot fund items (such as clothing) that students can take home.
Women’s Ultimate Frisbee was appropriated $3,108 for general operations and travel.
Men’s Ultimate Frisbee was appropriated $3,085 for travel and other supplies.
UNM Men’s Rugby was appropriated $7,725. Despite rugby team leaders’ push for more funding during public comment, finance vice chair Briana Flores reiterated that ASUNM cannot make financial reimbursements for past events and can only appropriate $150 a night, regardless of hotel costs, as per standing rules.
Quetzalkuetlachtli was appropriated $1,447 for a research based trip to Mexico.
These appropriations passed amid concerns of a budget crisis within ASUNM last semester.
Alyssa Martinez is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @amart4447