Aggies men’s basketball victorious on Lou Henson Day

The NMSU Aggies men’s basketball beat the Texas Rio Grande Vaqueros, 92-68, in Lou Henson Classic, named after popular former NMSU basketball coach.

By Albert Luna

Sports Editor

The New Mexico State Aggies returned home for the first time in the spring semester to blow out the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros on Saturday night in the Pan American Center, 92-68, in the Lou Henson Classic.

Henson, the legendary Aggie coach who guided the Aggies to the 1970 NCAA Final Four, was honored at halftime on a day that was declared “Lou Henson Day” in the City of Las Cruces. Henson sat on the NMSU bench for the entire game and gave the players a pregame talk as well.

“He came in before and talked to us and I really think he was the key for our success,” says guard Matt Taylor. “He told us to stay focused and that we have a great coaching staff.”

The Aggies came into the matchup looking for their fifth straight win in WAC play, after going 2-0 in their previous road trip that saw them knock off Seattle and Cal State Bakersfield, respectively.

NMSU came out with some stifling defense to open up the game, limiting UTRGV to just three points in the first five minutes of play. The Aggies found themselves up at the first break by nine points, 17-8, in large part due to Braxton Huggins and Ian Baker finding early success with three-point shots.

“We just knew we had to throw the first punch tonight and I thought we did,” says Taylor, who finished with 12 points after suffering a nose injury.

The Vaqueros closed the gap after the next sequence of play, coming within seven points of the Aggies thanks to two straight open transition layups, which prompted Aggies’ Coach Marvin Menzies to call a timeout and talk it over.

NM State continued to expand the lead, with Pascal Siakam proving to be key in a run that lasted virtually the entire second half of the first 20 minutes of play. Siakam, after scoring just four points in the first 10 minutes of the half, had himself a productive last 10 minutes. The Cameroon native scored 12 points and grabbed four more rebounds in that span, nearly collecting a double-double in just one half with 16 points, and nine boards on an efficient 8-12 shooting.

“It’s a part of our system, we like to play through the paint whenever we can,” Menzies says.

Siakam and Jalyn Penne were both also on the receiving end of Ian Baker lobs that resulted in two crowd-raising dunks. NMSU had a 22-point lead, 48-26, going nto the halftime break. The second half started with the Aggies simply not laying off the gas pedal. In the first six minutes, the margin widened to 27, with Jalyn Penne propelling the Aggies with five points in that span. Penne also set a career-high in points, shot attempts, and made shots. The sophomore forward finished the game with 20 points.

“The shots were just falling tonight and I felt that they were all going in,” Penne says.

The Aggies played out the Vaqueros the rest of second half, with the benches clearing essentially midway through the second half.

“I thought we did a good job of taking care of our business and being able to focus on today’s game,” Menzies says.

Looking ahead, NMSU has perhaps their biggest home game remaining of the season, as they welcome in number one in the WAC, Grand Canyon. GCU knocked off NMSU earlier this month in Phoenix in front of a sold-out crowd in a thriller, proving to be the Aggies’ lone conference loss of the season.

“I don’t have to motivate these guys, they know it’s a big game and we are going to work hard,” Menzies says.

The coach also says he would like to see Aggie fans come out and give GCU an atmosphere similar to the one NMSU had to face.

“I think if someone had to go to only one game this year, it has to be this one, we can create the atmosphere of a top-25 team in the nation, we really can.”

The Aggies will face off against Grand Canyon Thursday, February 4 at the Pan American Center.

Albert Luna may be reached at

Make sure to follow the official twitter of Round Up Sports. @RoundUp_Sports

Mumblin’, Stumblin’ Aggies: ‘The most politically incorrect fight song in the country’

New Mexico has long been one of the worst states in the country in regards to alcohol-related deaths. So is it right NMSU has a fight song that references alcohol?

By Aaron Stiles

Staff Writer

Creative Commons photo.

Every college has a fight song.  Some may be similar in lyrics, and most are similar in spirit, may even be the same song but with lyrics changed.  All are energetic songs designed to get the crowd’s blood boiling with pride for their alma mater. NMSU’s fight song is unique, however, because it’s one of the only college fight songs to reference alcohol and drunkenness.

“… And when we win this game,

We’ll buy a keg of booze,

And we’ll drink it to the Aggies

‘Till we wobble in our shoes!”

Ironically, the lyrics, as well as the song itself, first appeared in an October 1921 issue of The Round Up. Prohibition was in effect at this time, in essence making the song “illegal.”  Through the mid-20th Century, the song underwent many changes but none of them were as popular as the original.  Today, the Aggie Fight Song is just the same as it was printed in 1921.

But, as seen last year with the furor created over the Confederate Flag, simply because something is historical does not necessarily mean it is inoffensive.

There hardly seems to be a day when the media headlines don’t incorporate some mention of alcohol-related death on a college campus, or a tragedy or a crime happening as a result of alcohol.  Moreover, college campuses are often inundated with anti-bingeing propaganda, and NMSU is no different.

The Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education (WAVE) program at NMSU disseminates immeasurable amounts of information about the dangers of drinking in excess.  Such information is seen on fliers tacked to billboards, corkboards, and taped, pasted, or stapled on surfaces all around campus.

WAVE began at NMSU in the fall semester of 2005, and was a merging of two former campus programs: CHOICES, an alcohol-abuse prevention program, and the Violence Intervention Program (VIP).

How are students to interpret WAVE’s presence on a campus whose fight song may or may not encourage excessive drinking?

“It does put forth contradicting norms,” says Meg Long, a program specialist at WAVE. “One of the things we work on a lot is social norms. For instance, when we do our surveys (on campus drinking) every year, (according to our survey) the average student drinks two to three drinks a week, but then we ask students how much they think their classmates drink, and they think they have nine drinks a week. So what students perceive in terms of normal drinking versus what is really normal drinking is something that we try to correct.”

Further, Long said the question of whether WAVE’s presence and the NMSU fight song are contradictive is “a tough one.”  She says WAVE focuses on a harm-reduction approach to drinking.  That is, educating users of harmful substances, such as alcohol, on the effects of the substance, though not necessarily promoting they stop using that substance.

“(The Fight Song) clearly does not support the harm-reduction approach, in regard to binge drinking, that we focus on,” Long says.  “It is a touchy subject because a lot of people talk about (the Fight Song) in terms of tradition, less than really looking at it and saying, ‘If we are (singing) about drinking until we can’t walk, what message is that sending to the students?’”

This question is not insignificant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014 published a study comparing alcohol-related deaths in each state per 100,000 people between 2006 and 2010. The study found New Mexico had an average of 51. 2 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people, the highest in the nation.  The lowest rate was in New Jersey, with 19.1 deaths per 100,000.

Despite such statistics, Long says in the three years she has been working with WAVE, neither she nor the program has not been approached with questions or concerns about the fight song.

The last time any concern as to the appropriateness of the song was raised was in 2003.

“The last few years, we’ve had some alumni say that New Mexico is one of the worst states in the nation for driving while intoxicated,” said Debbie Widger, former alumni relations director at New Mexico State, to The Associated Press in 2003. “Earlier this year, we attended an alumni function in Denver, where once again the topic was raised.”

Official U.S. Navy photo released by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas Public Affairs Officer, LT. A. Chisholm.
Creative Commons photo.

Widger took the issue to NMSU’s Panorama alumni magazine, which surveyed  alumni on whether to change the fight song’s words.

“Several years ago, a national magazine (though it does not specify which and research by The Round Up/Oncore Magazine turned up no results) suggested that New Mexico State University had the most politically incorrect fight song in the country, particularly citing the words ‘We’ll buy a keg of booze / And we’ll drink it to the Aggies / ’Till we wobble in our shoes,’ which have been perceived as promoting excessive alcohol consumption,” says the poll.  “We turn to you, our alumni, for advice on whether to address this issue by adjusting the lines in question, or to leave them as they are.”

Widger told the AP there had been “pretty strong opposition” to changing the song from some younger alumni.  Evidently, as the song has remained the same, the majority response to the poll was not to change the lyrics.

No poll has been taken since and no concern has been raised as to the appropriateness of the song, even though New Mexico has long been one of the worst states in the country in regards to alcohol-related deaths.

“New Mexico’s total alcohol-related death rate has ranked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in the U.S. since 1981; and 1st for the period 1997 through 2007 (the most recent year for which state comparison data are available),” says the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.  “The negative consequences of excessive alcohol use in New Mexico are not limited to death, but also include domestic violence, crime, poverty, and unemployment, as well as chronic liver disease, motor vehicle crash and other injuries, mental illness, and a variety of other medical problems.”

Since 1990, a table on the DOH’s website reports, the alcohol-related death rate in New Mexico has stayed within the mid-40s to upper-50s, reaching an all-time high of 59.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014.

So what do students at NMSU think of the joint presence of WAVE and the fight song on campus?

Beer pong is a popular college party game.  Creative Commons photo.

“I think it’s a good thing that WAVE is here,” says freshman communication disorders major Brook Suneson.

Suneson says a lot of people in her experience are uneducated about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, which WAVE can help change. She told an anecdote of a student nearly falling down the stairs in the football stadium because he was drunk.  Suneson said she would recommend changing the alcohol reference in the Aggie Fight Song.

“I think (the fight song)’s pretty funny,” says Alicia Pacheco, a freshman nursing major.
“I feel like it implies that going to a football and drinking are tied in, that it’s something you’re obligated to do.”

However, influence of the song really depends on the person, Pacheco says. Pacheco said

“The whole song kind of does influence a little bit more drinking, but then the WAVE program is helping people to prevent it, so I feel like in a way they kind of balance each other out,” she says.

Pacheco does not recommend any changes to the fight song, but advises people not to take its message too literally.

For now the Aggie Fight Song will stay on the playlist, with no change to the lyrics.


NMSU organization gives Native students much-needed support

NMSU’s Nations organization is geared toward building a Native American Christian community on campus.

By Nani Lawrence

Staff Writer

bearfoot story pic.jpg
Nations’ symbol.  Photo courtesy of Nations’ Facebook page.

Almost every week, a New Mexico State University student organization gathers at a corner-house on Bellamah Drive for a home-cooked meal, socializing, and to discuss Bible passages. After the hour or so it takes to prepare the potatoes, the corn, the meat, the squash, and the from-scratch tortillas, the group gathers in the living room. Jacob Reta, also known as Bearfoot, asks them to bow their heads as he thanks God for the food they are about to eat and the people who expended the effort to make it.

As a Native American student, Reta has not had an easy life, in his village of Tortugas or in college.

“A lot of Native students (at New Mexico State University) are probably the first generation to attempt to go to college, or even graduate high school for that matter,” Reta says. “It’s a huge culture shock.”

Statistics from the National Indian Education Association indicate that the high school dropout rate for these students is at seven percent.

“Native people don’t participate effectively in the American educational system at all levels,” says Native scholar and New Mexico State University anthropology professor Donald Pepion. He specializes in the Blackfoot Nation of Montana, consisting of four tribes.

Across the country, university retention efforts have focused on negative things, such as dropout rates. Pepion feels they should focus more on positive aspects of having students from these Native cultures on their campus.

“It hasn’t been said, but I know in our hearts we want to change (the dropout rate),” Bearfoot says.

Nations was founded in 2004 by Donnie and Renee Begay, former members of Crusade for Christ and Destino. They really wanted to create something tailored to their Native culture, Donnie Begay says.

“We began the group in hopes of helping Native students, and do so through learning about faith,” Begay says. “(My wife and I wanted a) space for Native American students to be who they are, to speak their languages, eat foods they miss from home, and learn about faith from a Native world view/perspective.”

During the biblical discussions, each member of Nations is able to share his or her own interpretation of passages.

An anthropological term Pepion mentioned was acculturation. It occurs when a dominant culture attempts to tailor a minority to its own ways, erasing the minority’s way of life. This group seems to be one way in which that effect is prevented.

Nations tries to provide a safe and loving home away from home for Native students.

“Not just Native students, but freshmen in general are to themselves, in Garcia (Hall). We’re here for you, let us show you how we can love you,” Bearfoot said.

Reta says there is also a bit of a catch-22 about seeking out higher education as a Native person. Their families do want them to receive an education, to come back and better the reservation. But sometimes, these same people get the idea that, since they left, these students are “too good” for them, “city slicker,” “urban Indian,” he says.

There are many other things that affect Native Americans in higher numbers, from certain health conditions to police brutality, but one of the things that really upsets Reta was ignorance about the Native struggle.

One theory Pepion has about why this ignorance exists is because the history of the Native encounter with white, European settlers was not written from the Native perspective.

“For example, we want to celebrate (Christopher Columbus) as Americans, that he discovered this place. But that discovery brought a lot of things to North America,” including religious wars, he says.

The members of Nations, mostly Navajo and Pueblo, share a common background. They can understand each other.

Nations adviser Ashen Schumpelt grew up in the Four Corners area, so she had many Native friends. This put her in a good position to help these students.

“Leading others helps me grow in my own faith,” she says.

Begay says he feels Schumpelt is a great asset to the group. Not only does she add something they really needed with her own leadership, but she’s also been very helpful in finding Native student leaders to help sustain and grow this organization.

The most important thing Bearfoot credits Nations for, and Schumpelt in particular, is leading him on the best journey of his life.

This past summer, Reta was presented with the opportunity to volunteer in a village in Mongolia. Schumpelt really felt he should, but he wasn’t so sure. Raised both Catholic and ‘traditional’ Native, Bearfoot sought spiritual advice from her, and was told to follow God’s calling. Instead, God called on Reta to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Gates Camp in Denver.

Interacting with kids all day in an influential way felt great, he says. There was one child in particular who really grabbed his affections, a Native boy named Dominic. After receiving permission from both Dominic’s grandmother and the camp itself, they exchanged contact information, and talk on the phone every day.

“If I care about you, you’re family. And that kid is my little brother,” Bearfoot says.

NMSU is Her Campus: online publication for women by women

“Her Campus is a medium that focuses on the female collegiate population,” says Her Campus – NMSU co-editor-in-chief Fernanda Teixeira.

By Nani Lawrence

Staff Writer

her campus.jpg
Photo courtesy of Her Campus – NMSU’s Facebook page.

New Mexico State University started its own chapter of Her Campus in fall 2015, thanks to the efforts of two journalism students and best friends who decided to start the chapter after perceiving a lack of opportunity for writers at NMSU.

Her Campus is an online journalistic public targeted at female audiences.  It was started in 2009 and allows universities around the world to organize their own chapter, provided they have the signatures of 100 students to ensure interest and a verified team of at least five writers.

“I think the first time I came across Her Campus was when I realized that a lot of the college advice and career-type content I was pinning (on Pinterest) came from their website,” former NMSU chapter co-editor-in-chief Ada Ciucă says. “I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a chapter since my sophomore year, but I was always too scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.”

The online magazine was founded by Windsor Hanger-Western, Annie Wang, and Stephanie Kaplan Lewis during their undergraduate education at Harvard. With over 290 chapters across seven countries, Her Campus is described on its website as “the #1 global community for college women.”

The process to establish the chapter began in mid- to- late- August, which also included submitting writing samples to headquarters in Boston.

It officially launched on the NMSU campus on October 13.

“Ada really pushes herself to do excellent work,” says NMSU journalism associate professor Mary Lamonica. “(She) has always been the type of journalism student that every faculty member wants.”

Her decision to finally take the plunge this semester wasn’t entirely Ciucă’s own. Before graduating in the fall, Ciucă’s dream was either to come to fruition now or never.

“We work so well together, so the idea of bringing an online magazine to campus, especially such a renowned one, seemed wonderful!” says the publication’s other editor-in-chief, Fernanda Teixeira.

Like Ciucă, Teixeira had heard about the online magazine previously.

Someone Teixeira followed on Tumblr shared a story they’d written for their campus’ chapter, but she didn’t think about it again until Ciucă mentioned establishing one.

The graduating senior expressed a desire to give back to the NMSU community.

“I’ve always felt that the journalism department had a lot of potential, but not enough opportunities,” Ciucă says. “Being able to create a new media outlet for students has been an amazing experience.”

Before she thinks too much about passing the torch, though, Ciucă said she still has a few goals she would like to accomplish for Her Campus – NMSU.

As with many new things, getting the word out is near the top of that list. Another of her wishes is to have the chapter officially recognized as a student organization by the university.

Not only can writing for Her Campus provide its writers with real-life reporting experience, but it can also act as an internship, if one wishes to be a campus correspondent and agrees to publish a certain amount of articles per week.

“I think it’s (Her Campus) extremely important,” says Teixeira, who will still be editor-in-chief of the publication next semester. “The Round Up (Oncore) represents the whole student voice, but Her Campus is a medium that focuses on the female collegiate population.”

When she does look to the future of this project, Ciucă just wants her successor to be as passionate as she, because she really wants this NMSU chapter to thrive.

“I think the more student media we have on campus, the better,” says Teixeira.

Her Campus NMSU is strictly web-based, and can be found through the main Her Campus website and through several forms of social media.

Individuals interested in writing for Her Campus should contact Teixeira at or at for more information.

NBA Week 14

By Albert Luna

Sports Editor

NBA Week 14

After a scheduled month-long break, we are back for the second semester of NMSU and national sports. That also means our weekly NBA column. Now if you were counting, we are now coming upon week 14 of the season, which has already been one of the more memorable seasons in years past. As always, I’ll list three things I like and don’t like and include power rankings of the top 10 teams heading into this week of games.

Like: The long-awaited Spurs—Warriors I

We are more than halfway through the season and we have yet to see the two best teams in the league face off even once, despite being in the same conference. The Cavs and Warriors on Christmas day was supposed to be a meeting of the top teams in the league. However, with the Warriors and Spurs losing only a combined 10 games going into Monday night’s matchup, it is literally, from a combined record standpoint at this point in the season, the best regular season matchup in the past 30 years. This looks to be one of the best measuring sticks of the regular season and also carries the heaviest implications for the playoffs.

Don’t Like: The Cavs’ coaching shuffle

David Blatt was never the right coach for the Cleveland Cavaliersthat is just a simple fact. The now former head coach of the Cavs was 30-11 at the time of his firing but simply couldn’t get up to coach the big games, evident by that embarrassing loss at the hands of the Warriors last week. However, the thing that boggles my mind is, why go out and lock up top assistant Tyron Lue to a three-year deal worth $10 million when he has no experience coaching? Why not simply name him an intern for the remainder of the season and base your decision on whether to keep him off of this year’s success? It simply wasn’t good management. Keep in mind, the Cavs are now paying three head coaches (Mike Brown, Blatt, and Lue) and two of them are not even with the team.

Like: Toronto Raptors

It is no coincidence the Raptors want to be well represented at the first ever all-star game in Toronto next month. With Kyle Lowry already locked up as a starter, the team is now just 2.5 games back of being top in the Eastern Conference. With the Cavs in flux now, the Raptors have a legitimate chance to leapfrog them in the standings this week and secure their own coaching staff to coach the Eastern all-stars, which would be a first for the Raptors. Also, star shooting guard Demar DeRozan should get the nod as an all-star reserve, which will be announced later this week. The Raptors seem to be on the upswing at the best time for the franchise and the city.

Top 10:

  • Golden State Warriors—The Warriors are still on track to have the best season of all time. They rightfully deserve the top spot here, yet the Spurs are only two games behind them in the standings, making Monday’s game all the more interesting.
  • San Antonio Spurs—Kawhi Leonard is clearly number two in the league in terms of MVP nods right now, with his offensive potential finally now caught up with his long-standing defensive prowess. The next step: perform in big moments.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder—The Thunder have actually been fairly quiet lately despite going 8-2 in their last 10 games. However, ugly losses, such as on Sunday night versus the Nets, are all the more reason they are not in the top tier in the league, which may now only be a two-member club.
  • Toronto Raptors—The Raptors are the hottest team in the East. They’re winning all these games despite the absence of Demarre Carrol, but some superb play from the two backcourt players have pushed the Toronto franchise into elite company seemingly out of nowhere.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers—The Cavs’ loss Saturday to the Bulls left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths after the coaching debut of Tyron Lue didn’t go as well as anticipated. The Cavs have some legitimate concerns they are going to have to address, starting with Kevin Love.
  • Los Angeles Clippers—The Clippers have slowly crept up to the fourth best team in the West after a shaky start to the season. Chris Paul, meanwhile, is trying to make a push to have his all-star game streak extended with his play of late.
  • Chicago Bulls—Sometimes the Bulls look as though they can make a run at the finals, other times they nearly lose to the 76ers. One big difference from years past is they are allowing 102 opponent points per game, a far uptick from the previous coaching regime.
  • Atlanta Hawks—The Hawks need to have an all-star on the team this year. If they don’t, they run the risk of being the first franchise since the ‘90s Bulls to have no all-stars just one year after having multiple.
  • Memphis Grizzlies—Going 7-3 of late has really helped things in Memphis, where it appears they may be starting to figure things out finally. I firmly expect them to be in the market for three-point shooters at the trade deadline, though.
  • Houston Rockets—Inconsistency just might be a thing most Rockets fans might have to learn to live with this season, but when they’re playing good, they really look good. And when they’re badwell, let’s save that for another top 10.

Be sure to check back next week, same time, for the latest installment of the NBA column.

Albert Luna may be reached at

Make sure to follow the Round Up’s official Twitter: @Round Up_Sports

Opinion: Publishers need to stop being greedy, lower the costs of textbooks

By Sante Guajardo

Staff Writer

As a sophomore at New Mexico State University, I have endured nearly three semesters of being gouged for textbooks.  If you live on campus, your textbooks cost more than your living arrangement.  This seems ridiculous to me, yet every year nothing changes.

There must be some fee that goes toward the cost of books, but it practically bankrupts students, many of whom already pay for apartments, food, and the like.  Of course books shouldn’t come free—very little in life comes free—but simply because the publishers can doesn’t mean they should take advantage of students, their parents, by yearly and exorbitantly increasing the prices of textbooks.

At least Martin Shkreli only gouged his prices once.

A good majority of students can’t pay for every book right off the bat because they’re worried about paying for everything else.  This results in students not getting books and struggling with their classes.

A proper solution might be providing a set amount of books for professors, much like high school.  The books should be provided by the university and housed in sections of the libraries under proper security.

As difficult a situation as this is to remedy, there needs to be an alternative to gouging students and their bank accounts.  I encourage you to share your thoughts on how this problem should be solved.

Costs of textbooks drain students’ bank accounts

Students spend an average of $600 a semester on textbooks. Professors at NMSU try to mitigate these costs as best they can.

By Sante Guajardo

Staff Writer

Creative Commons photo.

Attending college can and does put many students in considerable amounts of debt by the end of a four-year degree.  On top of tuition and fees, housing, dining, and many other costs, students may also invest hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars into buying books for classes.

The College Board, last year, put the cost of textbooks at about $1,200 a year, approximately $600 semester.  Considering such costs, it’s worth investigating what goes in a professor’s textbook decisions.

The Round Up/Oncore Magazine consulted two NMSU professors to get their takes on the prices of textbooks, as well as what they themselves do to help students who have difficulty paying for them.

Kathryn Hovey is an associate professor of sociology and Jeffrey Amato is a professor of geology.  Both professors said, when looking for textbooks for their classes, they look at many factors: when the text was written, the depth of the information—too hard? Too difficult? —as well as the prices of the textbooks.

“I definitely think they are too expensive,” Amato says.

Both said the prices of textbooks are the results of “greed” on the part of publishers.

“I have no data on exactly why, but the need to have flashy textbooks with lots of pictures and the greed of the publishers come to mind,” Hovey says.  “New editions come out with very few real changes, and that allows for publishers to keep upping the price of books.”

Amato talked about the alternative option to buying a brand-new book: buying used books on Chegg, Amazon, and other such outlets.

“I try not to switch books too often. If I use the same book each year, it is easier for the students to find a used copy,” Amato says. “I tell them that in most cases they can use an older edition if they can’t find a new one. I also put some copies of the older editions on reserve in the library.”

Both Hovey and Amato know of a practice of students not buying textbooks altogether because of financial difficulties.

“Some students do without the books, and others have to wait until past the half way point of the semester to buy the books with their scholarship money,” Hovey says. “It negatively affects their ability to do the work required in the class.”

Many professors are aware of the considerable cost of textbooks to students, who are usually financially strained, and so many try to reduce the financial burden on students by teaching classes without textbooks, instead using PowerPoints, handouts, and other such materials.

“It works in some classes but students often want a book to hang on to,” Hovey says.

So what can be done to reduce the costs of textbooks?

“In an ideal world, college and university professors would join a union, and each discipline could produce its own books which could be distributed at cost to students across the U.S,” says Hovey.

Unfortunately, she says this is “totally unrealistic.”

So, at least for now, renting textbooks, altered teaching methods, and online textbooks will have to suffice.

“All of these options should be cheaper than buying a new copy of the latest book every semester,” Amato says.

NMSU firefighters keep campus, community safe

The New Mexico State University Fire Department is one of only two student firefighter programs in the nation. The department currently has 14 full-time students who double as full-time firefighters, fully licensed and certified.

By Kimberly T. Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Members of the NMSU Fire Department.  Photo by Billy Huntsman.

The New Mexico State University Fire Department is one of only two student firefighter programs in the nation. The department currently has 14 full-time students who double as full-time firefighters, fully licensed and certified.

The program began in 1921 as all-volunteer. The fire station was built in 1965, by which time students who volunteered in the program were expected to respond to emergency calls.

Over the years student firefighters have been paged and had to leave class to respond to emergency calls.

The student firefighters live in dorms at the station and are required to work every other day starting at five p.m. to eight a.m. during the weekdays. On weekends, two teams of seven firefighters each take 24-hour shifts. One team starts on Saturday morning at eight a.m. to Sunday eight a.m. The second team goes from eight a.m. on Sunday to Monday morning. They also work during any school breaks.

For students to be become firefighters, they must accomplish training courses to obtain licenses and certifications. Doña Ana Community College provides a Fire Science program that allows students to learn what is required. After the course they are qualified to obtain Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) licensure.

Once they are licensed they are allowed to continue their training in the fire department, such as: firefighter I training, driver training, rope rescue, technical training, and much more as the student progresses in the program. Ride-along and medical assistance are also parts of their training.

Aside from all of the required training, these students are also studying for classes and completing homework.

Lieutenant Patrick Armijo has been with the department for two and a half years and has gained a lot of experience. His major had been accounting but once the department was hiring, he applied and has changed his mind on what he wants to do for his career.

“It’s been a good experience.  I have learned a lot. I want to do this after I graduate,” says Armijo.

Armijo shared one of his most memorable calls: an injured hiker was stuck up in the Organ Mountains and Armijo was able to witness and participate in the rescuing.

“It’s a long process and it’s the most technically advanced call I have gotten here,” he says.

Armijo plans to apply to the Albuquerque Fire Department when he graduates spring 2016.

Angelo Pacheco, an applied studies major with a minor in geography, volunteered for the program after attending DACC for their Fire Science Program. He recalls one particular call that left him interested in making firefighting his career.

“A kid got ran over,” he says.  “I didn’t like the call but I liked the way everyone worked together–our department and the multiple county departments, ambulance, and helicopter. To see the whole process from the beginning incident to us arriving to the scene, ambulance, helicopter, it was great to see,” says Pacheco.

He also plans on joining the Albuquerque Fire Department when he graduates.

Another firefighter, Guillermo Placencio, described his experience as career changing.

“I had no intention to be a firefighter because of my degree in criminal justice,” he says, adding he had initially wanted to be a police officer.

Now, though, he is committed to being a full-time firefighter.

Placencio’s most memorable call included a man whose heart had stopped.  The NMSU Fire Department was the first to arrive on scene.

“From what we learned from EMT classes, we brought him back. It’s intimidating but the skills you learn make it worth it,” says Placencio.

One incident that the student firefighters remember the most is when Jett Hall had a fire. The NMSU Fire Department was dispatched around three a.m. They saw smoke coming from inside the building and went in to investigate. Firefighters outside were radioed to bring the fire hose in to spray the room that was on fire. After the incident, they found the cause of the fire was an electrical problem.

The student firefighters have responded to number of false alarms through the years, such as at Garcia Hall, yet they say they still respond to all calls seriously.

NMSU Fire Department is currently hiring for anyone who is interested in volunteer service or who are pursuing a firefighter career. No qualifications are needed but to work well with a team. There’s a high demand for physical training.

For more information visit the fire department’s website or contact 575-646-2519

Aggies take down Seattle behind Salas’ career-night

The Aggies took down the Seattle Red Hawks, 69-54, Thursday night.

By Albert Luna

Sports Editor

Rarely does a competitive, successful team bring back veteran leadership and savvy that is able to play now, and also have clear building blocks for the future. The New Mexico State women’s basketball team has the best of both worlds.

The Aggies took down the Seattle University Red Hawks on Thursday night in the Pan American Center, with a career-night from freshman Brooke Salas. The Aggies came into the matchup riding a six-game winning streak, with their last loss coming December 29 to Vanderbilt in the Fordham Holiday Classic in the Bronx, New York.

The Aggies were also fresh off of a two-game road trip that saw them pick up two more WAC wins against UMKC (68-62) and Chicago State (70-60), respectively.

The Red Hawks got off to a quick start offensively, using a corner three and a lay in to get to a 5-0 start off the bat. However, the Aggies used one of their patented full-court presses to counter the strong start from Seattle. Like we’ve seen countless times from State this season, they righted the ship. The Aggies, whose press is dependent on an offensive score, used an early Shanice Davis score to get into their press, which led to three steals in five defensive possessions, ultimately leading to a surge in easy baskets for NMSU.

Associate Head Coach Tamera Inoue says the full-court pressure is a testament to her team’s athleticism.

The Aggies took their first lead, 11-9, with the Red Hawks needing time to talk things over. The Aggies fell behind only one more time for the remainder of the half, with Davis pacing the Aggies for most of the first frame. However, in that second quarter it was all the Brooke Salas show. Salas scored 10 of the Aggies’ 15 second-quarter points, including two straight corner three pointers that got the previously dormant crowd into the game.

Salas, who started the season missing her first 19 attempts from deep, says she gets more comfortable as the season progresses.

“I think since then (the 0-19 start), I’ve gotten far more comfortable with my shot, as well as my coaches and my teammates,” she says.

The first-year guard finished the game with a stat stuffer of a final box score line, recording a career-high 20 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists in 30 minutes.

“I was feeling confident, I felt everything I shot was going to go in and if not, the next would go in,” Salas says.

Inoue was also quick to give praise to the California native.

“Brooke was definitely the player of the game and she stepped up big today, we’re really proud of her efforts,” Inoue says.

The Aggies had a 30-26 lead going into the break. The second half had much of the same for the Aggies, who outscored Seattle in the third frame after the Red Hawks used a small run to keep things competitive. However, by the fourth quarter, the Aggies simply had more in the tank en route to outscoring their opponent by 11 points in the second half, ultimately claiming their fifth WAC victory and staying perfect in 2016.

“We are a lot more confident compared to last year, our kids know they can win a game and they step up when they need to,” Inoue says.

Looking ahead, the Aggies will welcome Cal State Bakersfield in Pack the Pan Am 2.0, the latest ticket campaign by the athletic director Mario Moccia and the athletic department to get has many fans to a game as possible.

“We love crowds, we want to play in those big moments and we are grateful we’ve been awarded this opportunity to show the community what we’re about and how we do things,” Inoue says.

The game, which is Saturday at two p.m., is expected to be a near sell-out.

Albert Luna may be reached at

Make sure to follow us on Twitter for live game updates: @RoundUp_Sports

Getting flu shots important for your health, those around you

The elderly, the immune-compromised, and babies under six months of age are especially susceptible to infection, due to an either aging or under-developed immune system. Under-developed systems cannot be vaccinated because they are not equipped to handle even an inactivated virus. Elderly individuals can and are highly encouraged to get the shot, but it won’t work quite as well as it might on a younger and healthier immune system.

By Nani Lawrence

Staff Writer

flu story pic
A vial of flu vaccine.  Creative Commons photo.

Typically starting in the middle of fall, people flock to pharmacies to receive their annual flu shot.

Some people have started to skip this ritual, especially recently, because of the vaccine’s imperfect science, an adversity to needles, or a machismo fantasy of simply ‘toughing out’ a potentially deadly bout of the flu.

Efforts from the medical community have been made to focus this vaccine’s benefits more on public health than individual health, and rightfully so.

There is an obvious benefit to your own health, but it’s more important to those that you may care about, NMSU virus researcher Kathryn Hanley says.

“The reason I get the flu vaccine is that I have a 74-year-old mother and a niece or nephew about to be born,” she says.

The elderly, the immune-compromised, and babies under six months of age are especially susceptible to infection, due to an either aging or under-developed immune system. Under-developed systems cannot be vaccinated because they are not equipped to handle even an inactivated virus. Elderly individuals can and are highly encouraged to get the shot, but it won’t work quite as well as it might on a younger and healthier immune system.

“The more that the well-young community gets vaccinated, the more we can do something called cocooning the vulnerable population,” Hanley says.

If everyone around these vulnerable individuals are protected and therefore cannot pass on the virus, vulnerable populations do not have to worry about being stricken with an illness their systems won’t be able to fight off.

An objection to the flu vaccine in particular seems to be that the flu virus changes from year to year, calling for annual shots.

“If you get the measles vaccine, you are never going to get infected with measles. But when you get an influenza vaccine, you can still be infected with influenza,” Hanley says.

The flu originated in bird populations, says Hanley, and the virus has mutated so much as to be introduced into the human population.

According to the CDC, everything from severity of a flu season to even when the flu season will start is very unpredictable, which may be incentive to get vaccinated every year.

“You can still get sick (even if you’re vaccinated), but at least I feel like I tried everything I could to prevent it,” says Rita Ancira, an elderly retired resident from Alamogordo.

The concern about annual shots also stems from the vaccine not always being as effective as it could be in a certain flu season. Hanley says the vaccine lessens the severity of symptoms if you do happen to catch the flu.

“It does take up to 10 days for the flu vaccine to take full effect, so (those who believe it made them sick) might have been exposed elsewhere,” says Cruzita Montoya, a charge nurse at NMSU’s Health Center.

Although the flu is lurking around most of the year, it is very rare to actually be infected outside of colder fall/winter months.

The Health Center currently still has a vaccine called Fluzone available, which protects against four different strains of the virus, for a $20 fee.

A ‘flu mist’ is also available for those who don’t like needles. It isn’t available at the Health Center, says Montoya, but it is elsewhere in Las Cruces.

“It takes some prodding (to convince him), but my husband and I get our shots every year, along with pneumonia shots because of our age,” says Ancira.

According to Montoya, people with certain health conditions, such as Ancira’s husband, who has diabetes, could develop more severe cold symptoms.

The ‘cocooning’ effect Hanley mentioned, sometimes referred to as herd immunity, is terribly important for public health efforts, the researcher says.

“I think people really have a community responsibility to get vaccinated,” Hanley says.

The Health Center takes walk-in appointments from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Many pharmacies, such as Walgreens/CVS, will provide flu shots for free depending on health insurance.