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UNM Honors College enters its Swiftie era

The University of New Mexico is entering its Taylor Swift era as the Honors College introduces a new class in the fall, “Taylor Swift: Honors Version.” Under the guidance of lecturer Maria Szasz, a self-proclaimed "Swiftie" and seasoned educator, the full semester course will explore various jukebox musicals and Swift songs. It will culminate in the class creation of a jukebox musical featuring Swift's songs. “The goal of the class is to study Taylor Swift's music, lyrics, philanthropy, economic impact and everything she's doing for women and artists,” Szasz said. “And the class will then create their own jukebox musical based on the life, song lyrics (and) eras of Taylor Swift.”


B.o.B, Slums of Harvard and Indigo Waves wow the crowd at UNM Fiestas

Fiestas, an event organized by the Associated Students at the University of New Mexico, took place on Johnson Field on Saturday, April 6. The event featured many talented artists in the lineup and closed with headliner, B.o.B. Albuquerque local band “Slums of Harvard” took the stage, busting out some of their most popular songs and giving the crowd their renditions of songs by other artists, such as Goodbye Forever and covers of “Holiday” by Green Day, “Dirty Little Secret” by The All-American Rejects and “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” by Fall Out Boy.

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Women’s History Month lecture highlights untold stories

The University of New Mexico celebrated Women’s History Month with a special guest lecture from Alejandra Dubcovsky who presented her research on the role of women in Native American history in the Florida region. Her book, “Talking Back: Native Women and the Making of the Early South,” provides commentary on the disservice done to women when their stories are left untold. Contrasts across translations and cultures often highlight an important difference between how Native and non-Native cultures view women and tell women’s stories, if they tell them at all, Dubcovsky said. Gaps where women should be but aren’t are a major problem that Dubcovsky said she hopes to solve.

Hindsight Insight 4.0

UNM Art Museum explores identity and nature

Several times per year, The University of New Mexico Art Museum highlights social topics with its installations, ranging from featured exhibits and UNM’s personal permanent selection of artwork to donated pieces.  From now until mid-May, the UNMAM will display “Hindsight Insight 4.0,” a multifaceted exhibit that portrays issues pertinent to college students – including gender, sexuality, race and the environment – using artworks from different concentrations and artistic expressions. The exhibit includes works from multiple generations, genders, sexualities and artists from UNM and beyond. 

Polar bear day

Albuquerque BioPark Zoo celebrates International Polar Bear Day

The Albuquerque BioPark Zoo could bear-ly contain its excitement for International Polar Bear Day on Feb. 27. The zoo hosted an event to celebrate these animals, which featured hands-on exhibits, story times and live fish feeding.  The resident polar bear of the BioPark is named Kiska – a 27-year-old male who has been living in the 505 since the ‘90s. His habitat was renovated and upgraded inFebruary. He now spends his days with a 20-foot waterslide and 14-foot pool, according to the Albuquerque BioPark. Alongside Albuquerque, Polar bears and their advocates celebrate International Polar Bear Day across the globe.

Mt. Olive Baptist Church

Mt. Olive Baptist Church has served Albuquerque’s Black community since before New Mexico’s statehood 

When Tabytha Watson moved to New Mexico from Texas in 1898, the state did not have a Baptist church. To fill that need, Watson began organizing prayer days and Sunday school classes in her Albuquerque home located on Fourth St. and Copper Ave., according to Historic Fairview Cemetery. However, her ministry didn’t end there. One year later, Watson sought expansion and led the formation of the Mount Olive Baptist Church. Together with her church members, Watson raised enough funds to purchase a $135 lot on Lead Ave. Soon after, services moved from Watson’s home to the new building in Downtown Albuquerque, according to Historic Fairview Cemetery. Today, Mt. Olive is recognized as the first Black Baptist Church to open its doors in New Mexico.

Representation in Comic Books/ Superhero realms

Black superheroes and representation in comics

The Marvel versus DC debate is as old as time, but when it comes to Black representation, scholars suggest independent publishers, writers and artists are the best source. “Marvel and DC both pale in comparison to the independent, alternative and creator-owned comics scenes,” Jesús Costantino said – an associate professor of English at the University of New Mexico. For a comic to have good Black representation, it needs to feature a Black character in a storyline written by Black writers that speaks to Black readers. This is not yet the norm in the industry, Costantino said.

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UNM researcher studies Black settlement in NM

Blackdom was one of New Mexico’s first Black settlements, located about 15 miles south of Roswell. It was the most important Black homestead in the state, according to the U.S. National Park Service. One of the leaders in the creation of Blackdom, Frank Boyer, established the settlement in 1903 with 12 other Black homesteaders, according to the NPS. The community housed an estimated 150 people who began to disperse in the 1920s. Carlyn Pinkins – a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of New Mexico – plans to examine Black homesteads in New Mexico, including Blackdom, in her dissertation. 

Kai Warrior Feature

Kai Warrior’s immersion into music

The goal was to create a fully immersive musical experience -  so Kai Warrior brought their childhood home to The Orpheum Community Hub on Saturday. Warrior is a local musician who grew up in Albuquerque. They released their debut EP, “Everything I Know,” on Feb. 3. Their work follows a cyclical motion and outlines the details of childhood, friendship, love and heartbreak, and then circles back to childhood. “I wanted the EP to feel fully engulfing, and I figured the only way to do that would be to recreate my life in a room,” Warrior said.

affirmative consent @ unm

Can I have some FRIES? Affirmative Consent at UNM

Affirmative consent at the University of New Mexico is not a new topic. Several resources around campus contribute to the conversation around consent.  Women’s Resource Center Director Áine McCarthy said that affirmative consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific, remembered by the acronym - FRIES. The University requires that consent is affirmative, according to UNM policy. Title IX Coordinator Angela Catena explained that coercion is not consent. “One of the myths is around, ‘well if I eventually get a yes that means I have consent,’” Catena said. “But that might not necessarily be the case.”

Chinese Culture Center

Lunar New Year: Albuquerque’s version

  Lunar New Year is a time of celebration throughout the world. Saturday, Feb. 10, the 50th annual Lunar New Year Celebration was held in Albuquerque’s International District at a martial arts school called the Chinese Culture Center. Ray Tokuda is the leader – or Sifu – of the Chinese Culture Center or Lin’s Martial Arts Academy and directed this year’s exhibition, which was filled with a variety of traditional practices.  Lunar New Year is a time of celebration and cleansing with the traditional practice of cleaning the home and ridding it of evil spirits with the help of traditional lion dancing, which is a key part of the yearly celebration.

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Self Serve, but not FroYo

Self Serve Toys is a feminist and Queer-owned sex shop in Albuquerque. It opened up 17 years ago after the owner, Matie Fricker, saw a need for more inclusive sex shops nationwide. Tiziana Friedman, the outreach team coordinator at Self Serve, spoke about love for the shop because of the experiences there compared to other sex shops they have visited. “Self Serve is a sex-positive, education and health-focused sex shop. We believe that all bodies are good bodies deserving of love, exactly as they are. We believe that sex is healthy and pleasure is good for you,” Friedman said.

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Barrier Necessities, the simple bare necessities

Student Health and Counseling’s (SHAC) Barrier Necessities program aims to make condoms, dental dams and lubricant accessible to students while simultaneously providing education around safer sex practices. “The mission for this program (is) to help provide students with free prophylactics and to make it as convenient as possible, really meeting the students where they’re at,” Lianna Maldonado said – SHAC Health Promotion and Education Coordinator. Currently, the program has 29 locations, along with latex-free materials available at SHAC’s Health Promotion office. The program tries to be accessible and comprehensible to students, Maldonado said.

Breaking Dawn pt. 1 & 2 Showing

‘Twilight’ comes to campus in double feature

The Southwest Film Center (SWFC) held a double feature on Saturday, Feb. 3 of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” parts 1 and 2, showing that community that can be found both in movies and in a movie theater. The Student Union Building theater was decorated with “Twilight” references and filled with “Twilight”-inspired outfits. The event included “blood bags” – fake blood bags filled with Sprite, red food coloring and sparkles, which were reserved for the first ten attendees. Theatre manager Stefan Rossell explained that the blood bags were meant to be an incentive to movie-goers to come early, and it worked. Over ten people were at the doors before they opened officially.


Local authors went interstellar in 2023

2023 was a big year for bookworms everywhere. This year concluded strongly with a plethora of bestsellers worldwide, and with some true gems from local New Mexican authors. Sci-fi lovers were indulged with new unique titles from local authors Sarena Ulibarri and Ness Brown who crafted stories about the extraterrestrial and other space oddities. Both have had success in publication and have plans to expand their authorship in the future, they said.  Ulibarri, a University of New Mexico alumna, has been publishing since 2012 and released two books in 2023. She published her novel “Steel Tree” in December – a sci-fi retelling of the Nutcracker.


Lights, camera, action: New Mexico's film industry on the rise

Within the enchanting landscape of the Southwest, New Mexico has emerged as a widely sought-after location for filmmakers. Recently, the state has experienced a surge in the film industry. Landscapes, diverse locations and supportive tax incentives have turned this state into a haven for filmmakers. The New Mexico Film Office announced on Jan. 18 that Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces have landed spots on MovieMaker Magazine's "Best Places to Live and Work as a MovieMaker." Albuquerque ranks second on the big cities list and Santa Fe tops the small cities and towns list with Las Cruces coming in eighth.

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Midweek Movies - a student led trip to the theater

As the semester starts and calendars fill up with festivities, one weekly event students could consider attending are the weekly Midweek Movies hosted by the Student Activities Center on Wednesdays at the Student Union Building. Midweek Movies feature anticipated newer releases and beloved older films alike. A few films fresh out of theaters that will be screened this semester include Emma Tammi’s “Five Nights at Freddy’s” on Jan. 24, Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla” on Jan. 31 and Nia DaCosta’s “The Marvels” on Feb. 21. The screenings include refreshments free of charge. Student Activities Specialist Megann Roszak – who organizes Midweek Movies under the SAC – recommends getting there early to get popcorn and looks forward to welcoming students back for screenings.


New Year, New FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has recently undergone several significant changes – the most since the introduction of the Common Financial Aid Form in the Reagan era, according to the U.S. Department of Education website. This redesign was created via the FAFSA Simplification Act and Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act. Ria Shultz, the Assistant Director of the University of New Mexico Center for Financial Capability, said that these laws should make the FAFSA easier to access, leave users with fewer questions and provide better clarity on what information students need to provide.

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Get away with Getaway Adventures

Getaway Adventures – a program offered through the University of New Mexico Outdoor Adventure Center – provides students with the opportunity to further their learning through group trips around New Mexico and the country. Charles Gwinn, the OAC Operations Specialist, is in charge of the Getaway Adventures program and said he strives to create a multi-layered experience. “These experiences allow students an affordable path to be active outdoors, learn a new skill, expand cultural knowledge and build community,” Gwinn said.


Detroit brings passion for storytelling to APS

With a love for storytelling, Detroit Kallunki is graduating with an English degree this December. Kallunki began reporting for the Lobo about a year ago and along the way found a love for talking to others and helping share stories. “I really like conducting interviews, communicating with people and helping people share experiences that have shaped them, and what's important to them,” Kallunki said. As an English major, their understanding and love for storytelling boils down to the words being written on a page, and the extra time for consideration it allows.

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