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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: April 14, 2003
Volume 38, Number 18

Summer rush
UNM Housing and Dining Services
prepare for 14,000 guests

By Laurie Mellas Ramirez

After the UNM student residence centers’ exodus in mid-May, the heart of the student housing district beats even faster as UNM Housing and Dining Services gears up to host more than 14,000 people representing 120 local and national groups.

Conference Guest Services Manager Dennis Weber says academicians, cheerleaders, solar car enthusiasts and others will live from days to weeks on main campus to take part in conferences, workshops, training camps and student orientations.

“For many it’s their first experience on a college campus. It’s a good way to showcase the university,” Weber said. “The groups are required to have some educational context so it fully supports the mission.”

Conference Services is a one-stop shop charged with arranging overnight accommodations, three square meals, event catering and meeting and classroom space. In sharp contrast to local hotel peak rates, rooms are made available for a nominal fee.

Some adult groups prefer to stay in apartment style quarters, while youth groups enjoy a taste of dorm life, he said. Most meetings and classes are scheduled in Hokona Hall, the student residence commons building, and Johnson Center.

From late-May through mid-August more than 70 staff are employed to maintain housing and classroom facilities. La Posada Dining Hall staff cooks up more than 120,000 meals. Five current UNM students serve in management positions and another 40 are hired to staff a front desk and provide security.

“The students do a wonderful service as ambassadors. They have a lot of interaction with the guests. Some students are returning for a third or fourth summer of working conferences,” said Weber, who is on call 24/7 throughout the season.

The students aren’t the only repeat performers; many of the groups schedule visits to UNM each year. UNM student orientations welcome more than 200 parents and youth each week for 14 weeks. Other regulars include Duke University students at work on research projects and Western States School of Banking, which has been sending guests for some 20 years.

The National Cheerleaders Association will send 950 to train at UNM this summer and the La Raza SW Conference boasts 250 participants. More than 500 enthusiasts will speed into town for Solar Car Challenge 2003 and another 550 attend the Special Olympics conference. Other large events include the Boys’ Basketball Camp and Flicks on 66 festival.

Conference Guest Services can also arrange for meeting room space during fall and spring semesters. For more information, call Dennis Weber or Liz Gallegos at 277-5896.