ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – University of New Mexico students start school Monday. However, this year’s college experience will be like no other.
The college experience is what so many young people look forward to. “Going to sports games like football and basketball,” student Ryan Ragalado said. “Things UNM holds like Red Rally and the big concert at the end of the year,” student Ava Yelton added.
UNM students this year said they are missing out on all of that. “Any sense of campus community is going to be gone,” student Chloe Mathers said.
Football season is postponed, and many classes are remote. “Hardly anything you can do,” Regalado said. “Classes are online only. I am not taking anything in person.”
Plus, student organizations, like Greek life, are operating differently. As of now, there will be no in-person meetings or events for fraternities or sororities. “The biggest change is switching to a virtual recruitment and adapting how we interact with potential new members,” Greek Life advisor Chris Brooks said.
While in-person activities campus-wide are decreasing, students are asking why tuition is increasing by 2.6%. “It feels like they are stabbing us twice,” Mathers said. “They are cutting all of this out, erasing the college experience, and forcing us to pay more for it.”
Dozens of students are protesting the tuition hike for this school year. They said the increase already would have been tough pre-pandemic as many full-time students work multiple jobs to pay for tuition. Now, COVID-19 has forced layoffs for many of those students. “I worked as a prep cook,” Mathers said. “My job is laid off, so that is 20 hours a week of income I am not getting.”
While students said this year is not what they planned for, they are hoping for the best. “It is pretty much education only which is what you are here for, but we are missing that college experience,” Regalado said. “All you can do is stay optimistic.”
While in-person activities are down, UNM Greek life said their registration for recruitment this year is actually up 50% from last year. They believe it is because people are looking for more ways to connect.
- Tracking Coronavirus in New Mexico
- Tracking Coronavirus in Navajo Nation
- Trendline Charts: New Mexico Coronavirus Cases by County, by Day