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Daily Lobo editors Kelsa Mendoza (left), Lily Alexander (center) and Alex Starostina (right) pose for a photo in the Daily Lobo newsroom on May 12.

5 and Why: 5 ways to make friends in college

5 and Why: 5 ways to make friends in college

It can be daunting for new students to try to make friends in college. Here are five ways I recommend new students engage with the University of New Mexico community and make some new pals.

Join a club

Joining a club at UNM is one of the fastest and easiest ways to meet new people who share your same interests. There are over 400 clubs on campus, ranging from the Undergraduate Anthropology Society to the UNM Hobbit Society. If none of the clubs sound right for you, then you can always create your own.

“All clubs appreciate new people giving it a good try and I think the only way to find out you love something is to jump right in. It’s never too early or late in the semester to give it a go,” Aliah Gibbs, president of the Rugby Club, said.

Engaging with your major is another quick and easy way to make friends. You can apply to live in one of UNM Housing’s nine Living Learning Communities (LLCs), which connect students with similar majors or interests.

Club sports are a great way to have fun and enjoy an activity that interests you. Club sports on campus include rugby, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, tennis, swimming, volleyball and many more.

“Being involved in the Rugby Club has brought some of the most tight-knit friendships I could ask for. The club has given me people I can count on, on and off the field, because rugby isn’t just a sport, it’s a family and a community. You can really travel anywhere in the world and be able to find and bond with so many other players,” Gibbs said.

There’s also the Outdoor Adventure Center, which hosts getaway adventures for students and staff year round to try camping, road-tripping and more outdoor escapades.

Attend student events

UNM offers a variety of fun student events.

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During the fall and spring semesters, Mid Week Movies – where students can watch the latest film releases and cult classics – takes place every Wednesday night in the Student Union Building Theater. Movies shown this past year include “Oppenheimer,” “Trolls” and “Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

Student Special Events (SSE), a branch of  Associated Students at UNM – the undergraduate student government – holds concerts and hosts comedians and other performers throughout the school year. Past appearances include comedians like Troy Bond and Amy Poehler, and musicians like Jack White and Cheat Codes.

Welcome Back Days, which occur at the beginning of each semester, feature free outdoor concerts for students.

Red Rally, held every September, involves the burning of a replica New Mexico State University Aggie mascot to excite students prior to the Rio Grande Rivalry football game.

Sports Illustrated rated Red Rally 55 in a “102 Things You Have to Do Before You Graduate” article, according to UNM Newsroom.

Also in September, SSE holds Silent Lights – a silent disco event where students wear headphones and dance the night away. Multiple DJs perform at the event at UNM’s Smith Plaza amidst neon lights.

The last major annual event is Fiestas, a free concert on Johnson Field for students. It features a mix of local musicians and ends with a headliner to wrap up the year. Rapper B.o.B closed out Fiestas this past April, singing some of his biggest hits, including “Airplanes” and “Nothin’ On You.”

Run for student government

If public service is your thing, ASUNM may be the place for you. Students can run for office, participate in decisions that affect the student body and more.

ASUNM holds fun events for students year round and travels to the state legislature to advocate for funds for campus projects in the spring. Composed of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, students who participate can meet fellow students with a passion for making our school a better place and gain experience in government.

Get involved in Greek life

Greek life is a fantastic way to meet new friends you will have for life. UNM has over 20 sororities and fraternities for students to join. Lettered organizations can be based on cultural, departmental or value affiliations.

Greek life holds multiple events during Welcome Back Days for students to meet with fraternity and sorority members, and discover all the ways to be a part of this world at UNM. Recruitment for the fall 2024 semester begins in August.

Make friends in classes

One of the easiest and most underrated ways to make friends in college is by getting to know people in your classes. When you aren’t attending UNM sponsored events or participating in your club, you’ll often find yourself in class or studying.

It’s as simple as turning to the person next to you or finding someone who also didn’t do the reading. Remember, most people feel just as nervous – if not more – than you. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and break the ice.

Every department on campus holds events for their students to grab some snacks, hang out and learn more about their field of study. You can also find or create study groups within your major.

No matter who you are or where you come from, there is a place and there are people for you. College is meant to be the time of your life; cultivating friendships is one of the best ways to make it so.

Maria Fernandez is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at

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