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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
May 10, 2004
Volume 39, Number 15

Branch campus/state news

UNM-Valencia students build homes, futures

By Patrick Vigil

A family is living in a home constructed of loading pallets and tarps. Winter is rapidly approaching.

Sound improbable? Many people might think so, but recently members of the UNM-Valencia Student Senate visited the home and learned first hand what many families in Valencia County experience daily.

Senators discovered that 3,695 children live in poverty, many in substandard housing. In fact, at least 650 units of housing children live in would not pass a building inspection today, according to Senate President Adolfo Martinez.

“You’ll never find a more dedicated group of volunteers than the students from UNM-Valencia campus.”

Kevin Cronk, Habitat for Humanity

Enter Youth United, a joint effort between the Valencia Campus Student Senate and Habitat for Humanity.

Youth United is an initiative that invites youth, ages 5 – 25, to work together to fund and build homes. The group targets young, enthusiastic volunteers. The experience helps them develop leadership skills, engage in positive service activities and learn the joy of helping others.

Youth United has hosted several highly successful community service events in Valencia County including food drives and new home construction. Their efforts are so successful that senators Janice Gilbert, Crystal Yalch, Jennifer Martinez and Elizabeth Iturralde recently presented a request for funding proposal to the United Way of Central New Mexico seeking a one-time grant of $25,000. If successful in securing the grant, Habitat for Humanity has pledged another $50,000.

Student Senator Ricky Gallegos and his family own a home in a new community being developed by Habitat for Humanity. The planned community includes a park currently being designed by students from the UNM School of Architecture and Planning. He now wants to help others in the county. Gallegos said he joined Youth United because “I want to gives others the opportunity I received.”

According to Kevin Cronk, Habitat for Humanity executive director, “You’ll never find a more dedicated group of volunteers than the students from UNM Valencia Campus.”

As part of their activities the students are hosting an alternative spring break.

More than 100 students from across the United States will travel here to help them build Habitat homes.

CRS, UNM Press donate books

UNM’s Center for Regional Studies (CRS), in collaboration with UNM Press, will donate more than 800 books to underfunded public and tribal libraries in rural New Mexico.

“The goal is to build a stronger sense of community as well as increased interest in literacy,” said Tobías Durán, CRS director.

Durán and CRS will give $10,000 to purchase 833 UNM Press books. The CRS supports research and teaching with a focus on New Mexico, the Southwest U.S., Mexico, Latin America and Spain. Through its acquisition and preservation of manuscript, diary, document, photographic and oral history collections, the CRS encourages a learning community.

“The Center for Regional Studies supports collaboration between UNM and the wider community, in teaching, learning and service. Books, such as those published by UNM Press, should be accessible to all readers everywhere,” Dúran said.

“Libraries are about building communities. We have an excellent opportunity to give these kids something to do to make learning fun for them,” said Chrystal Clark-Fort, librarian at Mora’s new David Cargo Public Library.

Olive,” by Jack Smith, one of 50 portraits in the “Jack Smith: Taos Portraits” exhibition of friends and acquaintances who live in Taos. The exhibit opens May 14 and continues through August 15 at the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos.

The exhibition features recent oil paintings of friends and acquaintances who live in Taos. Painted on copper, each portrait shown is just 6” x 6” in size. One of the most striking aspects of Smith’s presentation is the sense of individuality he captures. Harwood curator David L. Witt said, “This is not a homogenous group – they are not the look-a-like models from the latest mail order catalog through which corporate designer clothing stylists set out the latest fashion. No problem telling these people apart. If there is a commonality, it might be that many of them have a somewhat somber appearance, or perhaps it is a kind of intensity reflecting the challenging life of the Taos Valley.” Jack Smith will present a talk on his work, Thursday, May 27, at 7 p.m. at the Harwood Museum.

UNM President Louis Caldera, right, visits with Robert O. Anderson at a recent Rotary Club luncheon in Roswell where Caldera was speaker. Anderson, a Roswell native, is UNM’s business school namesake.