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Students hold up the Lobos hand gesture at Silent Lights in Johnson Center on Nov. 5, 2021.

Silent Lights set to illuminate Smith Plaza

This Thursday, Sep. 15, “Silent Lights” will once again light up Smith Plaza as the University of New Mexico’s annual silent disco, free of charge for students and a plus-one.

Silent Lights is an annual event put on by the Associated Students at the University of New Mexico, Lobo Spirit, Student Special Events, and University Communication and Marketing. When they enter the event, students will be given wireless headphones that they can use to tune into one of three DJ stages playing different genres of music through the night.

According to organizer and Student Special Events executive director Devin Padilla-Munson, the goal is to create an event where all students can have a good time.

“We try to select DJs with varying genres so that we can appeal to the most students, so whatever student comes to our event gets to choose the genre of their liking,” Padilla-Munson said.

This year offers an opportunity for Silent Lights to return to its roots. The event has run every year since 2016 except the past two, when it was upended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the event was canceled, and in 2021, it was moved indoors. This year, Silent Lights is back where it began on Smith Plaza. Padilla-Munson expects this return to normalcy will entice students to the event.

“Students wanna get out and experience their campus life. The dorms are filled, and students have been inside for the pandemic for so long,” Padilla-Munson said. “Now they're really looking for the next experience, they're looking to get out and have fun.”

The organizers have been planning the event for months to ensure every detail is just right for the event, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 students this year, according to Padilla-Munson.

“Even before school started, we were joining Zoom calls together, we were making sure the production was secured, we were making sure the headphones were secured. We were trying to vision what the event would look like. All these little details took months of preparation,” Padilla-Munson said.

Part of this preparation included finding new ways to innovate the event by bringing on new partners and collaborators, including The Electric Playhouse, who will be helping with Thursday night’s entertainment.

“They will be bringing two interactive projection displays … big screens that you get to walk in front of, and there’s camera sensors that will change the design based on your movement,” Padilla-Munson said.

The event is a great opportunity for all students — whether residents or commuters — to relax and have a good time with friends while engaging with the broader campus community, according to Padilla-Munson.

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“There will be something for everyone there. Grab some friends — we’re going to have a fantastic time,” Padilla-Munson said.

Silent Lights will take place this Thursday from 8-11 p.m. on Smith Plaza.

Spenser Willden is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @spenserwillden

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