2023 ASUNM Legislative Priorities
Capital Outlay Package — $610K
UNM students, administration, and community members are increasingly conscious of safety on UNM’s Main Campus. As the highest elected student representatives on our campus, this session, we are presenting a package of projects meant to tackle a few key aspects of student safety over the short term.
Lobo Lift — 110K (Legislative Council ID: 2711)
It is becoming the norm in Higher Education for Universities to have an escort service which provides safe rides for students around campus in the evening and night hours. After thorough research and visits to our peer universities with established programs in place, ASUNM is ready to embark on a new program for our campus: Lobo Lift. This service will allow students to receive safe lifts to and from any part of Central Campus at night provided by other students. With $100k for operations already committed from the UNM President, ASUNM hopes to further secure funding for capital changes and launch this program as soon as possible: we have received quotes and are ready to break ground once we find a funding source.
Lighting in GR Lot — $250K (Legislative Council ID: 2707)
Arising from direct feedback from students who live in Greek housing, it has become clear that one of our parking lots most in need of additional lighting is GR Lot. This area, being moderately trafficked, would benefit greatly from installation of new lighting. ASUNM’s 2021 capital outlay successfully built new lighting in the residence halls, to great effect for our student residents. Leaning on that past success, ASUNM hopes to make GR lot the next story of success for making UNM’s campus environment safer.
Yale & Redondo — $250K (Legislative Council ID: 2710)
Expanding on ASUNM’s Capital Outlay request during the previous legislative session, this funding will focus on beautification and simplification of the Redondo & Yale Intersection. The project will construct landscaping boundaries between the campus & Central Blvd. while updating the intersection to be a more welcoming entrance to campus. A clean, well lit, and open plaza area will ensure that UNM students feel safe coming to campus through the bus stop in what has historically been a particularly exposed area according to many of our commuter students.
Opportunity Scholarship Letter of Support
As the highest-ranking elected student leaders at our universities, we understand the importance of affordable, equitable, and accessible education. In a state where far too many of our students have to work and take out loans to secure their spot at our universities, unencumbered access to higher education is all the more essential; New Mexican students work hard in and out of class to get their education. It is with this understanding, and with the collective experience of our students over this past year, that we would like to praise the Opportunity Scholarship for further expanding access to affordable higher education in this state. In addition to the Lottery Scholarship, the Opportunity Scholarship has allowed more students than ever to focus on and prioritize our education.
As student leaders, we see first-hand the challenges students must overcome when faced with financial difficulties while pursuing a college degree. It is not uncommon for a student to disenroll simply because they do not have the means to sustain themselves financially. New Mexico has historically faced systemic challenges including poverty, high crime rates, and a consistently low K-12 national ranking in education. These challenges contribute to the unique student demographics in our state, where many students are first-generation, Pell Grant eligible, or underprepared for higher education coursework. The best way to break this cycle is through education. This makes the Opportunity Scholarship one of the most impactful pieces of legislation in recent history when it comes to alleviating these areas of concern. In New Mexico, any student who wishes to follow their dream and work hard enough to obtain a college degree should be given that chance– the Opportunity Scholarship gives them that chance.
In the Fall 2022 semester, the Opportunity Scholarship benefitted over 34,000 students and has significantly contributed to enrollment increases across our state. Research institutions, comprehensive four-year universities, and branch community colleges saw 1.8 percent, 4.7 percent, and 7.3 percent increases in enrollment, respectively, from 2021 to 2022. Just one year after Opportunity’s signing, New Mexico had the second highest one-year increase in overall enrollment nationally — shifting from historical trends of declining enrollment. This accomplishment must be met with a continued investment and support for our students.
Although the Opportunity Scholarship is still in its infancy, we are already seeing the short term benefits to our students. Through continued investment in coming years, we are confident that our universities' deep commitment to student success paired with financial support from the legislature, higher education institutions will continue to see positive trends in enrollment, retention, and graduation rates.
Based on its tremendous impact, we urge New Mexico Legislators to support funding the Opportunity Scholarship at $157 million for FY24. The benefits of a robust Opportunity Scholarship for New Mexicans are twofold: short term assistance for our future leaders, and long term investment in education to improve our future workforce.
As individuals who have seen firsthand the profound life changing effects this scholarship has had on thousands of lives, we want to sincerely thank New Mexican lawmakers who have already invested in New Mexico’s future through the Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships.
Ian May — ASUNM President
Krystah Pacheco — ASUNM Vice President
Garrett Moseley — ASNMSU President
Dallen Sobers — New Mexico Tech SGA President