Lobo Social Packs are a new way for students to connect with one another at the University of New Mexico, bringing five students together to attend both in-person and virtual events.
The Student Activities Center (SAC) will organize and host these groups, which will include four students and one “involved” student leader.
“We’re really looking at trying to find ways to connect students during the pandemic, because things have obviously been really tough with very few in-person classes,” Ryan Lindquist, the director of the SAC, said.
The 25 students who have signed up so far met virtually for the first time on Thursday, Jan. 28. Applications will continue to be accepted throughout the semester.
“Gatherings will be a mix of in-person and virtual activities and include things like eating at La Posada together, attending campus events (Drag Bingo, crafting events, movie watch parties...), game nights, walking field trips (to Rude Boy Cookies, Freddy's...) and more,” the SAC website reads.
The student group combinations will be decided based on a multitude of factors, including grade, school focus and whether or not the individual lives on campus. Lindquist said group assignments will come together shortly.
He said the SAC wants to find a way to “allow people to socialize with people that they may not have had that opportunity to meet with.”
“We’re hoping that this is going to create a little social network for students and improve their experience,” Lindquist said, adding that students who come to UNM from out of town and live in the residence halls haven’t had much of a chance to expand their social bubbles.
Lindquist said the idea for the social groups was first brought up in mid-December by Pamela Cheek, the associate provost of student success, and published online in January without any advertising. However, 13 people found it on their own and signed up. SAC recently started pushing advertising for the events on social media and plans to have a larger wave of promotion this week.
“We feel like involvement and engagement is really a key component to life at the University of New Mexico, and we understand that the pandemic has really impacted our ability to provide those opportunities,” Lindquist said. “We’re hoping that this will be a step in getting us back to seeing some of those opportunities on campus.”
The SAC also hopes that more student organizations, like Greek life and government groups, get involved in the Lobo Social Packs, as many individuals from those groups have already signed up to be student leaders.
Both undergraduate and graduate students can fill out an online form to join a pack, and students involved in UNM campus life and the general community can apply to lead a pack by emailing email@example.com.
Masks are required for all in-person events, and all members must comply with New Mexico’s COVID-19 rules and precautions.
Megan Gleason is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @fabflutist2716