A new student group has been formed at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell to create more connections among current students and introduce the community and prospective students to the local college.
The Achieving Career and Educational Success (ACES) Ambassador group was formed in April. Ten students will serve next year. Five are regular college students and the others are enrolled in college classes as Early College High School students.
“We are starting our training in the beginning of August, so they will go through a three-day training on how to be an ambassador for the college and all that entails,” said Tyrah Esquibel, pathway strategist for the Cultivating Success Initiative (CSI ), created by a federal Title V grant to the college.
Esquibel said that she and other administrators, in listening to students, decided that the a student leadership group could help develop a more robust student life at the college — which has a large number of part-time students and students who work full time — as well as ease high school students into the college environment. Esquibel said she also thinks the group will help develop ideas for future student-related improvements.
“After the pandemic, we saw a decrease in student engagement on campus,” she said. “We just wanted to turn things around and create student life where people are starting to come together again and creating this college as more of a community and a family where people can meet and gather together.”
One of the first organized activities of the group will be a “welcome back” night in August as fall classes begin.
Other events both on the campus, in the community and in local high schools will occur during the year.
Students who went through an application and interview process are expected to meet at least once a week and participate in at least three outreach activities and two high school visits each semester. They make a one-year commitment to the group.
While the college is still deciding whether ambassadors will receive compensation, Esquibel said she thinks personal development rather than money is motivating the students.
“A lot of the students who joined are looking for a way to grow themselves as leaders,” she said. “They aren’t really in it for the money. They are in it for the opportunities involved.”
Erubiel Barrientos, a May 2022 Dexter High School graduate who plans to study gas and diesel mechanics, is one of the new ambassadors.
“I wanted to be part of the group so that I can make a difference,” he said. “I feel that I can connect with people and help others make connections with people.”
The 2022-23 school year at ENMU-Roswell also will bring other changes. The college is working to open a food bank somewhere on campus, having received a New Mexico Higher Education Department grant to start it. It also will open the newly renovated Automotive & Welding Technology Building to students this fall.
Campus improvement projects expected to begin this academic year or the next including renovation and upgrades to restrooms and sewer and sanitation lines; the addition of exterior lighting and surveillance cameras and systems to enhance campus safety; and an upgrade to fiber optic cables. The school is also waiting on a state decision about whether it will receive $1 million for the expansion of its Health Sciences building to accommodate more nursing students.
In addition, a $2.48 million general obligation (GO) bond project will come before statewide voters in November. That would fund the addition of sprinkler systems for the Arts and Science Center, the Occupational Technology Center and the Physical Education Center in 2023 or thereafter.
2022 Community-college events of significance include two in November, a Veterans’ Day event and the Turkey Trot-David Gonzales Memorial walk and run that benefit local nonprofits and charitable organizations.