By Nani Lawrence
The air stagnates within the mostly white walls of Corbett Center Student Union on the New Mexico State University campus. The school has just finished most of the construction of the second-floor lounge, but between the second stairwell and the last, it is still blocked off.
Corbett Auditorium is still located in the same spot, but the inconvenient construction makes it simpler to enter from the east side, near Pete’s Place.
American Sniper has about 20 minutes left. As a whole, Corbett is mostly empty, but outside the auditorium, a group of friends listen to music, seemingly trying to choreograph a dance.
When the movie lets out, a crush of students rush to spend the rest of their evening in Corbett’s downstairs seating area or one of the three dorms on campus. All except for one.
Olivia Tedder is a freshman from Utah.
“I’ve been to all the movies so far (at that time, The Avengers 2, Furious 7, and Jurassic World),” she says.
These movies make being basically stuck on campus all semester, sans holidays, a bit easier, she added.
Hump Day Movies, shown at 7 p.m. every Wednesday, were started by Aggies Activities Council as a way to get students more fully involved on campus. If there’s more to do on campus, maybe students will be less inclined to go home for the weekend or stay cooped up in their apartment or dorm, says AAC’s reasoning.
NMSU student Brianna Hernandez enjoys the weekly event because it’s a relaxing way to start the school week.
Fellow NMSU student Lupita Ochoa likes the social aspect.
“(A movie such as this) gets a lot of students out of their rooms because it’s something that’s free and you can just come and hang out with friends,” she says.
The AAC is funded through Campus Activities, budgeted from student fees. The 2014-2015 Tuition & Fees Guidelines reports Campus Activities’ budget at about $35,000. Morgan Busch, AAC adviser, says, since students already ‘paid’ the AAC with their fees, they should not have to pay again. Every AAC-sponsored event is “always free, always fun.”
The AAC selects movies via a seven-student-member executive board.
Andrew Monedero, AAC executive board member and self-proclaimed movie buff, works at a movie theater. If a movie does well, he will suggest the council acquire it for a showing on campus. They try to get movies that are ‘in-between,’ that is, they’re no longer in theaters, but they’re also not yet available for rental.
To acquire these movies, NMSU usually works with Swank Motion Pictures, based out of St. Louis, Missouri, according to Busch. Swank acts as a middleman between motion picture studios and institutions such as hotels/resorts and college campuses.
Swank employee Chris Vierling, who directly deals with NMSU, says the licensing fees to show these films is based on three things: size of campus, expected turnout, and how new the chosen movie is. Typically, though, the licensing fee, actual DVD, and shipping and handling fee amounts anywhere between $600 and $1,000 per movie showing.
This semester, the AAC plans to show 15 movies, including Pixels, Magic Mike XXL, and Ted 2. Most of them are newer, as Busch mentioned, but a few are older, such as Elf.
For seven years, NMSU didn’t really have an activities council, says Busch. The university hired her about a year ago to bring it back.
“NMSU is in a decline for things happening on campus,” says Busch.
Events like Hump Day Movies encourage students to take full advantage of the college experience, she says.
Like Busch, AAC Director of Programming Priscilla Artalejo says it’s important for students to be involved on campus because that involvement adds to college life.
“We’re adults, and we should get involved in our community,” she says. “For right now, that community is NMSU.”
Past events the council has planned include an AJR concert as part of Aggie Family Weekend earlier this month, the volunteer opportunity Keep State Great in Fall 2014, and the Western Athletic Conference in Spring 2015.
The council is always looking for fresh ideas. Busch can be contacted via Campus Activities at (575) 646-3200, and the general assembly meets every Wednesday prior to the Hump Day Movies, at 6 p.m.
Complete movie listings can be found in Corbett, right across from Einstein’s Bagels and outside Corbett Auditorium. Posters are also available at the Campus Activities office.