The University’s most well-known disability asset for students is the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC). This organization is a department within UNM Student Services that has provided accommodations for students and employees with registered physical and intellectual disabilities for the past forty years. The center provides the 1,300 students that utilize its services with resources such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, textbooks in Braille, private exam rooms and countless other accommodations necessary for these students to be able to attend the University. 

Joan Green recently celebrated her fourteenth anniversary as director of the ARC. She said the mission of the ARC is to “ensure there is equal access on campus for not just students, but the public and any visitors or employees who are here.” 

Though Green said she believes the ARC and the mission it represents have significantly improved over the years, she said there is still progress to be made on UNM’s campus in terms of accessibility of disability resources. However, she is actively working towards a solution. 

Hundreds of New Mexicans from around New Mexico gathered for a vigil outside of the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Friday to demand lawmakers to “close the camps” under the nationwide Liberty of Lights movement. 

The vigil was organized by the Three Sisters Collective, a grassroots organization of indigenous women in Santa Fe, co-founded by University of New Mexico alumni Dr. Christina M. Castro. The event was co-organized by the New Mexico Dream Team, the Medicine Drum Circle, and Remembering Ancestors Inspiring Community Empowering Self, RAICES. Planned Parenthood and the New Mexico Immigration Law Center were among the groups in attendance.

The evening began by calling upon ancestors for protection, followed by a blessing of all four cardinal directions. The prayer was led by Tonita Gonzales, a medicine woman of RAICES. Gonzales mentioned the native tale of the Eagle and the Condor, which prophesied that one day, the people of the North and South will be united again.

The Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers and the Albuquerque Police Department hosted a gun buyback event on Saturday afternoon, collecting a total of 415 guns. 

“This is one part of our multi-pronged effort to reduce gun violence in Albuquerque,” Mayor Tim Keller said in a press release after the event. “As police work to keep people safe, we also need support from law-abiding citizens who are often targeted by thieves. This successful gun buyback event gave people a safe way to dispose of unwanted firearms while taking those guns out of circulation.”

In the style of a fast-food drive-thru, hundreds of people showed up to turned over handguns, shotguns and rifles for $75 and assault rifles for $100. APD paid cash for the guns, which according Councilman Pat Daivs, district 2, will be turned into an art installation. Davis said the logistics of this project are still being developed, but added that the art installation would focus on gun violence. 

The University of New Mexico project to install solar panels on the roof of the Student Union Building may have to change locations due to the roof of the SUB having more damage than previously thought. 

The Associated Students of UNM Senate began the process of requesting money from the state for the solar panels about two years ago. Associate Director of Government Relations Matthew Muñoz said his office helped ASUMN students work with the Legislature to begin this project.

“Solar Panels on the SUB is a student-led initiative,” Muñoz said, adding that. “(The Students) have to figure out what they want to do, if it will be funded by the bond, they have to work with legislators to get the funding and they have to work when they get the money.” 

New VP shares her goals

As the new Associated Students of the University of New Mexico administration prepares for the upcoming fall semester, Vice President Madelyn Lucas is looking to address three main policy areas: enrollment, campus morale and accessibility.

Lucas defined accessibility in two parts: first the University’s compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) , and second is undergraduates’ access to ASUNM. Lucas expressed that the ambiguity of what undergraduate accessibility would actually look like in legislation is a part of the challenge in achieving this goal. 

Lucas’ most well-established role as Vice President is to oversee the senate by appointing chairs, facilitating discussion, setting the agenda and making sure all legislation is in place. Typically, senators are popularly elected for 2 terms based off of the results of the most recent election. For example, if a candidate won a seat in the most recent spring 2019 election, they would serve for the fall 2019 and spring 2020 sessions, at which point they can resign from the senate or run again. Since the most recent senate election in April, there have been shifts in who exactly will be in the senate. 

Rio Grande roaring after heavy rains

Albuquerque’s ecosystem may benefit from this year’s heavy water flow and flooding in areas around the Middle Rio Grande.

Although the water levels are past their peak for this year, the average discharge in the Rio Grande in Albuquerque rose to nearly 6,000 cubic feet per second in June. Last June the discharge rate rarely surpassed 1,000 cfs.

On June 18 the discharge rate outside of Cochiti dam, an hour north of Albuquerque, was at its peak flow at a rate of 6,279 cubic feet per second, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Albuquerque District. 

Areas surrounding the Rio Grande had good snowpack this year. Kim Eichhorst, an associate research professor of biology at UNM and co-director of Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP), said the snowpack earlier this year melted, and sublimated – or evaporated straight from the snow. A dust layer on the snow also allowed the snow to evaporate faster.

SUB closer to installing solar panels

The University of New Mexico is inching closer to having solar panels installed on the roof of the Student Union Building (SUB) now that state funding was designated for the project.

Talk of installing solar panels on the SUB has been brewing since Fall of 2017 when a resolution calling for the University to push towards 100% renewable energy sources was unanimously passed by the Associated Students of UNM Senate, the legislative body of undergraduate student government. The solar panel installation will be a collaborative project between ASUNM and Facilities Management, formally known as Project Plant Development.

Four reportedly shot in downtown ABQ

Albuquerque police are investigating a shooting that occurred early Sunday morning in downtown Albuquerque. 

Four people were reportedly shot outside of Tantra nightclub — formerly known as Lotus — and were taken to local hospitals. Albuquerque Police Department said their injuries are not life-threatening. 

The identities of the victims have not been released. 

Lobo Food Pantry helps out hungry students

Every month, University of New Mexico students and others can get free groceries through the Lobo Food Pantry program. The next Lobo Food Pantry date is July 12, 2019, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. while supplies last.

The mobile food pantry is a truckload of food that is distributed to community members, where people can fill a box or two with the items they need.

The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice released a report in April of this year that showed that 41% of four-year university students across the nation are food insecure. Last year, the state of New York mandated that all public colleges and universities provide mobile food pantries for their students. 

City approves NBCUniversal partnership

The ink wasn’t dry before the cameras started rolling. 

On Monday June, 17, Albuquerque city councilors voted unanimously to approve a 10-year joint venture between NBCUniversal and an Albuquerque realtor to redevelop an empty warehouse into a film studio with two soundstages.

Already, work is being done on the free-span property at 1601 Commercial Avenue where the NBCUniversal studio is based. Filming started Monday, June 17, on Briarpatch, a crime anthology starring Rosario Dawson for USA Network. The pilot was filmed in Albuquerque in 2018.  

They are the second major production company to choose Albuquerque as a studio location causing career prospects to possibly be opening up for film students at the University of New Mexico.  

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