Mustang Story of the Week: WNMU at Grant County Day

Members of the Associated Students of Western New Mexico University attend a meeting at the Roundhouse Wednesday.

© Western New Mexico University

The following two stories were originally published by The Mustang, Western New Mexico University’s student newspaper. Read them below or click on the article titles to see the original pieces.

Legislators Meet With Lobbyists on Grant County Day
By Eric Lowe
Additional reporting by Brenda Acosta

The Associated Students of Western New Mexico University were among the many organizations from Grant County to participate in the day-long lobbying session in Santa Fe, NM, on Wednesday. The members of student government planned to present their plans for Virtual Applications for Western New Mexico University students, while the Western New Mexico University Early Childhood Program lobbied for sustain funding for their program. The university also requested funding to Phase III renovations of Harlan Hall, roof replacements, information technology infrastructure and more funding for Mustang Athletics and the Student Success Center. They expressed their hope to maintain their current funding and increase compensation for both faculty and staff.

During the opening conference, four representatives and both district senators spoke to the lobbyists from Grant County. Then Evangeline Zamora, the President of the Grant County Prospectors, welcomed everyone and turned the floor over to Sen. Howie Morales. He expressed gratitude for his re-election and welcomed Sen. John Arthur Smith to speak. Sen. Smith, as the Legislative Finance Committee Vice Chair, spoke about economic development in Grant County. He said that Western New Mexico University is an “economic engine” for the community.

Rep. Bateman from Doña Ana then introduced himself and spoke about his projects concerning net-neutrality. He stressed that while net neutrality can be considered a world-wide issue, it has a large impact on rural communities like those found in the southwest, where the affordability and performance of the internet can be critical to low-income and middle-class families.

U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce made a surprise appearance and spoke briefly about ways to expand the economy, including manufacturing copper and building refineries within the state. He also mentioned the development of private spaceflight.

Reps. Candie Sweetser and Rebecca Dow were up next, and both mentioned their ties to Higher Education, with Sweetser working as an adjunct professor at Western New Mexico University’s Deming branch and Dow voicing her support for childcare programs, specifically citing Western New Mexico University’s Early Childhood program.

Rep. Rudy Martinez was the last legislator to speak, talking about the importance of Medicare. He also discussed the Gila River and his hope to protect the water as a resource. Rep. Martinez also expressed his determination to ensure that the state funding would be “distributed correctly.”

Representatives from Western New Mexico University also met with Barbara Damron, the Secretary of Higher Education Wednesday. Read on for details about that conversation.

Western New Mexico University Presents to Secretary of Higher Education
By Eric Lowe
Additional reporting by Brenda Acosta

On Wednesday afternoon, Western New Mexico University President Dr. Joseph Shepard met with Cabinet Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Barbara Damron to discuss the future of Western New Mexico University. Also in attendance were board of regents members Arlean Murillo, Janice Baca-Argabright, and Jerry A. Walz, Esq., as well as representatives of the Associated Students of Western New Mexico University and Shannon Rivera of the Early Childhood Education program.

President Shepard explained that he hoped to receive state funds to complete renovations of the Harlan Hall Science building, explaining that STEM is a critical part of education. He also expressed his wish to increase compensation for faculty and staff members who haven’t received pay raises recently.

Associated Students of Western New Mexico University President Tim Stillman also spoke of virtual applications and the benefits they will have for the student body, especially for remote learners enrolled in the university’s online programs.

Sec. Damron stated that Western New Mexico University has an excellent president and a wonderful board of regents. She said she saw the big picture of what the university needs and complimented the university for how efficient it is. She also agreed that the university faculty and staff need increased compensation.

President Shepard expressed his wish to bring back a Western New Mexico University baseball team, citing that as something the Grant County community wants. Damron agreed that athletics are indeed a major draw for students seeking higher education.

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