UNM Freshmen Week encourages community, confidence

By Tamon Rasberry / CJ 475 Reporter
Posted Oct. 5, 2012

The University of New Mexico held its 3rd annual Freshmen Week, which is an extension of student orientation, for the class of 2016. The freshmen class was introduced on Oct. 15-19 to programs and events that further acclimated new students to university lifestyle.

University supports new students
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by Tamon Rasberry

Experience the sights and sounds of UNM Freshmen Week.

UNM Dean of Students Kim Kloeppel said an important aspect to freshmen is feeling comfortable on campus and wanting to become involved.

"We really find that freshmen like having that extra support and connection with other students," Kloeppel said.

Freshmen Week UNM Class of 2016 held events like Writing Across America, Johnson Fields competitive athletics, welcoming freshmen dance and the hanging of the new class of 2016 banner, which is in the UNM Student Union Building ballroom.

Faculty and students collaborated with different departments to raise the money for the weekly events. Freshmen Week cost just under $1,000 for the events that took place.

Freshmen Week Coordinator Miquela Ortiz said, "Studies have been done that students who become involved are more likely to graduate. I recently volunteered and became more involved."

Colleges, such as New Mexico State University (NMSU), don't offer programs like UNM's Freshmen Week. NMSU holds events specifically catered to the freshmen orientation held on its campus.

Freshmen Week Coordinator Hallee Kells said she initially started planning events like Freshmen Week five years ago because she noticed students wanted to have an opportunity to get together as just a freshmen class and have a social event.

"We had a 2013 freshmen Facebook page. I monitored that and answered questions and noticed that freshmen specifically wanted to get to know other freshmen," she said.

Social media outlets, such as UNM Class of 2016 Page, have allowed past and present freshmen to communicate with one another and find out what sets the tone for a university atmosphere. The initiative and time spent from students, such as Ortiz and Kells, are what initiated an extensive freshmen orientation.

"One of the most important things about an event like Freshmen Week is the freshmen class is the most vulnerable. If we're able to show students, especially mid-semester, we're able to give them a boost of celebrating freshmen and showing we appreciate them, it shows that UNM as a whole really cares," Kells said.

UNM Manager of Student Initiatives Corine K. Gonzales said, "This program has developed students into becoming great leaders and volunteers for UNM. Programs like Freshmen Week are molding great leaders for this campus."