August 11, 2010by Margaret Kovar @NMSU
A new student center on the New Mexico State University campus will help American Indian students make the cultural and social transition between life in their tribal communities and life at college.
Located by Corbett Center and Chamisa Village, the 7,451 square-foot American Indian Student Center is still being completed. It will house the American Indian Program and will provide a home-away-from-home for American Indian students, as well as serve as a venue for cultural sharing with the NMSU and Las Cruces communities.
In American Indian culture, the circle is a prevalent element, representing continuity and life. The center was built in a circular shape in observance of this cultural aspect and includes space for the program’s offices, a meditation room, a kitchen and two multipurpose rooms. Gallery areas will hold pieces of traditional art, while a student commons will provide a place for students to escape from stresses and demands.
Because of the center’s efficient energy use, NMSU also aims for the building to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
More than 600 American Indian students are enrolled at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus. The center’s purpose is to enhance the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of these students by helping their overall experience.
“We hope the presence of the center will help achieve our goal of increasing the number of American Indian students receiving degrees from NMSU,” said Justin McHorse, director of the American Indian Program.
The American Indian Student Center will hold a grand opening Oct. 9. For more information about this and the American Indian Program, contact McHorse at 575-646-4207.