For Queer students, finding out who your college roommate is can cause anxiety, Mara Cox – the president of Juniper Reimagined – said. While having roommates is a common practice at the University of New Mexico, for trans students it could possibly create an unsafe living environment. “One of the biggest anxieties I personally had to face with getting a roommate you don’t know is wondering if you’ll have to hide yourself. If you do have to hide your identity, the best case scenario is just not interacting with the roommate at all – basically having to purposefully avoid them, which is hard when you live with them,” Cox said.
During the summer and with the current heat wave, tension and stress can be higher. This can cause more aggressive and confrontational drivers on the road, according to Associate Professor of Urban Design, Moises Gonzales. The heat and amount of time we spend in the car may play a role when it comes to road rage, Gonzales said. “There are some studies on specific human behavior … Even heat affects how people engage or how it affects mood,” Gonzales said. “Based on your commute trend, you may have an obvious higher probability of expecting road rage.”
Last Monday, students were notified via email that UNM Resident Life and Student Housing would convert multiple double rooms to a three-person capacity in order to meet housing demands. The halls with rooms that can be converted into triple capacity dorms include Coronado, Hokona, Santa Clara and Alvarado. The exact cost of the rooms were not given by Megan Chibanga – Director of UNM Resident Life and Student Housing. However, students in these rooms will have a reduced rate compared to traditional double rooms, according to Chibanga.
Facing a lack of basic needs affects university students year-round, however during the summer when temperatures are higher, campuses aren’t fully open and the availability of resources are lower for many. 67% of college students surveyed across New Mexico campuses have experienced some form of insecurity, according to the 2023 Basic Needs Project. The survey completed by the UNM Basic Needs Project is a group that UNM’s Basic Needs Specialist, Amanda Martinez, put together to gain insight on data about student needs. The Lobo Food Pantry is a resource available to students that operates four days a week and allows any UNM student with a student ID to come and pick up a basket of donated food.
Amidst New Mexico’s summer heatwave with temperatures in the 100s, concern has spiked over the inadequate maintenance and neglect of parks in communities of color and low-income areas. The poor maintenance of parks is an example of environmental racism. “The dire state of these parks hinders the residents' access to green spaces, but also permeates into environmental racism and there is a need for change,” Enrique Cardiel, a community organizer, said. The Regional Recreation Center/Quality of Life Grant was a state-led effort to improve amenities at public outdoor spaces in the state. While none of the funding went to Bernalillo County, Urban to Wild coordinator, Rachel Swanteson-Franz, said these efforts are to help improve equity in public green spaces.
The University of New Mexico offers a multitude of resources for its students, faculty and alumni. One resource is based on growing a foundation to the skills taught at UNM: teamwork. UNM’s Outdoor Activities Center is located outside Johnson Center and is a part of the University’s Recreational Services. The OAC has a program called the Challenge Course and Leadership Development initiative which consists of the Challenge Course.
In February, a bill protecting reproductive and gender-affirming health care was signed into law in New Mexico. The Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act protects patients seeking reproductive and gender-affirming health care in every part of New Mexico, according to Representative Linda Serrato (D) – a sponsor of the House Bill. “This is especially important in rural communities that have historically lacked access to care,” Serrato said. Frankie Flores, Education Specialist of the LGBTQ Resource Center, said that greater access to gender-affirming health care will further protect New Mexico’s trans and non-binary community.
Local Albuquerque community found joy in resistance at Mesa Verde Park – gathered to eat, provide resources and build connections on the Fourth of July in protest of the holiday. In 2022, 1.2 million people were incarcerated in the United States, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Based on a survey, the ACLU administered about 24,000 incarcerated people – 76% reported being forced to work or facing punishment. Selinda Guerrero, a local organizer, spoke about the event's intent to resist state exploitation in prison systems and by police on the Fourth of July – the nation's Independence Day, a celebration of freedom and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
During the summer, the University of New Mexico offers a two week in-person class called “Curanderismo: The Art of Mexican Folk Healing” to allow students to connect more closely with cultural and spiritual healing. The class takes a holistic approach to healing, Eliseo Torres said — the professor of the course. The class has many guest speakers from all over, including Mexico and Peru. Some of those guests are curanderas who specialize in the traditional healing methods of Curanderismo. One such curandera is Tonita Gonzales who has worked with the class for many years and sees it as an opportunity to give students a perspective on medicine and healing in other cultures outside western medicine.
The New Mexico Local News Fellowship and Internship Program has expanded its opportunities for aspiring journalists. The program was created to support journalism students and graduates from New Mexico public universities since 2019, according to the department of workforce solutions who partnered with the News Fund press release. With 125,000 in-state funding approved this past pay, the program will be able to double the amount of participants they have. The program is operated by the University of New Mexico’s Communication & Journalism Department where the program recruits, selects and matches journalism students to local newsrooms, according to the The Local News Fellowship and Internship website.
Having performed on local stages herself, the goal of newly appointed Popejoy Hall Director, Fabianna Broghese, is to give local teens an opportunity to see Broadway shows. Popejoy Hall’s Development Director and head of “Broadway for Teens”, Maryellen Missik-Tow, said that the program is a philanthropic effort. The previous year was the program’s first. This past May, it sponsored 80 students and 10 teachers to see Hamilton, Missik-Tow said.
Early Thursday morning, members of the Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees joined together outside the University of New Mexico Hospital to protest what they said are unsafe working conditions. Protesters were there in demand of safe staffing, safe working conditions and fair wages. Many nurses joined the group in their scrubs while getting off their shift or on break, at 6:30 A.M. A coalition of campus unions were there in support of nurses, including resident physician William Wylie. He works with nurses everyday and said that they are crucial to the hospital. “They're our eyes, ears and hands. They’re with the patients most of the time,” Wylie said.
First-year students at the University of New Mexico embark on New Student Orientation. In a two-day event that occurs every week this summer, students will register for classes, explore and spend the night on campus. NSO is organized by Director of Student Services, José Villar, who has run the program since 2019. Of the new students coming to UNM, Villar said about 18% - 20% are from out-of-state. “We have 11 orientations throughout the summer (with) about 350 (students) per orientation,” Villar said. NSO is available both in-person and virtually. The virtual option, “NSO-To Go,” is for students who are unable to attend the in-person event. There is a $200 orientation fee for those who attend in-person and a $110 fee for virtual participants, according to the NSO webpage.
The founder, co-owner and director of local dance studio, VIIIZON Academy, Trey Pickett, said he would have benefited from funding in the creative industries. The Creative Industries Bill provides funding to people with creative occupations and will go into effect July 1. When Pickett was young, he was inspired by the artistic abilities of artists like Michael Jackson and Prince. He said he loved to see how people moved creatively and it became his vision to dance, have a studio and work in the creative industry. So he said he began to work at studios throughout Albuquerque. By collaborating with others, he said he wasn’t able to live his vision. “It was tied up in other people's opinions and narratives,” Pickett said, so he decided to create his own studio, but found that funding was hard to come by.
The City of Albuquerque kicked off its annual concert series, the Albuquerque Summerfest, Saturday, June 10 at North Domingo Baca Park where a crowd of community members gathered for a free event featuring local musicians, businesses and food. The event was the first of three that will take place this summer throughout the Albuquerque Metro area. Ryan Romero and Miguel Otero are members of “St. Levi and the Family Tree” – a local alternative soul duo that recently released an EP entitled “Sacramental.” The event also featured 3 other musical groups.
The Animal Welfare Department is looking for people in Albuquerque who are willing to foster shelter animals. The Animal Welfare Department is reaching out to the public because their typical foster resources have already been used due to the number of animals being surrendered, according to Valerie Greif, a foster team member. A foster parent takes in different animals and provides them with care and a place to stay to make more vacancies in the shelter. The fostering process can look different based on animal needs, according to Tara Mansker, foster team member.
Albuquerque parks ranked 23 by the Trust for Public Land, 11 places higher than the prior year. Albuquerque scored a 61.1 out of 100 due to the number and size of the parks, according to The Trust for Public Land, rather than the maintenance of them. The Trust for Public Land is an organization that works to create parks and protect land. They have been ranking parks for over a decade.
The Albuquerque BioPark announced that their 26 year-old polar bear named Koluk passed via euthanasia on May 26. The zoo's decision to put down the large animal was due to Koluk’s rapid health decline, the park stated. In 2022, KOAT reported that seven animals at the BioPark had died in the past few years, including multiple primates that passed due to a shigella bacteria. Koluk is not the first animal to be euthanized at the zoo. One euthanization case dates back to 2010 when a Giraffe was euthanized, dismembered and tossed in a trash bin at the park. Training was a repercussion, but no one was immediately or expected to be fired, according to the Albuquerque Journal
Earlier this semester, the University of New Mexico’s Basic Needs Project — in collaboration with the New Mexico Higher Education Department — sent out a survey to 27 universities and colleges statewide to collect data on the basic needs of students, faculty and staff. On May 5, the data collected was presented in the Student Union Building. This event included an appearance made by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in support of the work done.
This upcoming semester, all undergraduate students have the opportunity to take Intro to Asian American Studies — a class that is being offered for the second time. Shinsuke Eguchi, a professor in the communication department, will teach the class this fall. The course is about “understanding the historical, political, and economic context in which Asian Americans are racialized,” they said.