Letter from the editor

By: Albert Luna

I love this publication. The past 11 months at the Round Up have been some of the best times as Editor.

Not only did we put life into a publication that had inarguably lost its identity, but we (hopefully) changed the outlook for this great institution in what I genuinely hope is the most positive way possible.

Last summer, when looking ahead to what has now been the past year, there was so much uncertainty from every angle: media advisor, a budget, a leader, a sense of direction as a whole.

The Round Up, and student media altogether, seems to now finally be able to be back on its feet. On our side, it only took a constant rotation of hiring’s, firings, and resignations alike, all within months, to finally be able to come to terms that these things are not easy by any measure and they take time.

However, at least for a year, we brought The Round Up back; we were able to cover clubs, events, sports, and the news for the first time in far too long for what should be a constant watch dog of the University. That alone should be chalked up as improvement – exit stage right. However, we simply do not see it in the same light.

With all of that said, we missed the mark this year. We recognize it. We own it. We missed opportunities, we missed tips, we missed where the students are.

Additionally, from an internal standpoint, we came up short as well. The very years’ worth of work we are trying to distance our self from —the previous cast preceding us— has inevitably crept back in from a managerial, financial, and content standpoint.

We need to reach students at a quicker pace, we need to become a viable presence as we once were on campus, and we need to get back to being a publication that students can not only be aware of, but proud of by the same token.

Therefore, it has come down to this: we cannot afford to print The Round Up.

Afford not only in the sense that the University’s money supply is drying up at an alarming rate for services that have been mainstays for years— which can affect the budget that is allocated to The Round Up and its expenditures— but also afford to be moving away from the students and the mediums in which they receive news.

The limited budget we have makes for a limited amount of staff which results in a limited amount of content – all of which is dedicated to filling the pages on a weekly basis of The Round Up.

For every story written, unless it is sports, is not posted online until the day the Round Up comes out in print to give the reader incentive to pick up the physical copy, of which we can go to advertisers and charge a certain amount depending on our readership. The print demanded the staff to devote all of their limited amount of work hours to the print, further neglecting the powerhouse of our online platform.

The easy answer is to simply have the staff focus on the digital aspect– yet NMSU Human Resources will not allow students to work more than their budgeted hours. The next logical step is to have people simply contribute for free— much like the majority of other college newspapers— however, NMSU HR also states that everyone must be paid, regardless. I suppose the majority of college publications in this country should be expecting a heavy fine for labor violations, as this University clearly has very questionable ways of interpreting almost anything.

Also, simply put, millennials don’t read print anymore. We see this as a perfect way to evolve into a more current and relative news entity – we see ourselves as an online platform going forward. Not only is the staff behind this, but we can justifiably say the community is as well. The process that led to this conclusion will be documented in greater length at a later time.

This decision has not and likely years from now in hindsight will still not be easy. The Round Up has always been in print. It is what we are. It is what we could hang our hat on at the end of the day but we must move forward with how quickly the journalism field is changing.

Next year will look drastically different, instead of being outside in bins when you are getting out of class, ideally, we will be that story on your Twitter feed that you click on while you are still in class doing the inevitable scroll down your timeline. The time to evolve is now, and we cannot miss this “opportunity” the University has given us.

We can promise one more printed Round Up for everyone that will be returning to school in the fall, as well as being (hopefully) an active part in input and comments about the change in the meantime.

We can also, however, promise timelier news, holding our University officials accountable for their decisions to a higher degree, and more coverage than NMSU has seen in a long time. At the very least, we can offer to you, the reader, an opportunity to watch next year’s unrelenting staff try to push this establishment to a higher level – and live with the results.

In the meantime, during this summer break, I would urge everyone with input to reach out to us – after all, this is the students’ voice.

Most of all during this time, as I have said all year, keep your ears to the ground for news, give us feedback, and most importantly, continue to write your own story.

Albert Luna is the Editor-in-Chief for The Round Up and may be reached at truprint@nmsu.edu or (575) 646-3743.

Commentary: Jans was the best option for Aggie Basketball

By: Derek Gonzalez

It is never ideal to lose a head men’s basketball coach at a Division I institution. Either the results were not there and a change in direction was needed, or the results were there and a university with bigger financial resources and facilities comes calling and plucks away a winning head coach.

Losing Paul Weir was a tough blow for the university and the men’s basketball program. But it was inevitable. Weir not only won games and set school records, but his demeanor and sophistication made him an attractive candidate for any university. The elephant in the room is who came calling for Weir. The University of New Mexico has fantastic facilities. The Pit is unique and when the Lobos are good, is a top-20 venue in the country. UNM Director of Athletics Paul Krebs nearly tripled Weir’s salary, and in the Mountain West Conference, the Lobos will have the chance to regional and national exposure. The 37-year-old Canadian native will have every opportunity to build UNM into a west coast power.

Already late in the process and without a substantial increase from Chancellor Garrey Carruthers as it relates to the base salary, NMSU Athletic Director Mario Moccia had to get creative and use well-developed relationships, and did both in the hiring of former Wichita State Associate Head Coach Chris Jans.

The market was not demanding of Jans as a head coach because of his mistake that cost him his job at Bowling Green. It was embarrassing to Jans, his family, and Bowling Green University, but Bowling Green, in just one year, had become a winner as a program who was not known for being a viable team in the Mid-American Conference. Jans took a 20-loss team into a 21-win team in just one year. Without his own players. Without any of his own recruits.

Now Jans come into a situation at NMSU where the team does not lack talent. Subtract Ian Baker, but add Ohio State transfer A.J. Harris and top-100 recruit L.J. Figueroa to a team that went 28-5. Moccia found not only an assistant coach who had run his own program before, but a successful one at that who appears to have learned from his mistake.

NMSU is a good job. The history, the Pan American Center, the warm weather and a beautiful campus makes it an attractive place for a high-level assistant looking for his first big break. Where NMSU falls short is in conference affiliation and money. Moccia walked into an unstable situation where his predecessor did not do enough to ensure that NMSU will be in a stable conference in the immediate future. Since Moccia took over, there has been very little movement in conference realignment. Moccia can only do so much at a university that does not put the emphasis it needs to financially in athletics.

Jans will take over a program that Moccia wants to see get tougher. Moccia saw first-hand what the program looks like when a head coach and his players captivate Las Cruces, as he played baseball at NMSU during the wonderful Neil McCarthy era. He spoke of it during the press conference that he wanted “tough dudes.” Remember Wichita State’s Final Four run in 2013 that Jans was a part of? Their motto was “play angry.”

Do not expect there to be any drop off from the Weir era to the Jans era.

But do not compare the two coaches, as their styles are completely different and they are two separate individuals. Obviously with where Weir is at now, that is what people will do. But keep this is mind. Weir has so much more to work with than Jans. They are not on the same playing field. Jans will bring out the best in the NMSU men’s basketball program, but that best may not be enough to be better than the Lobos. But that is fine. If Weir really hurt your feelings, the best way to get him back is to fill that Pan Am Center and make it the place he wanted it to be. Jans will give you every reason to.

Aggie Baseball sweeps Northern Colorado

By: Derek Gonzalez

The New Mexico State baseball team has continued their hot start in conference play with a three-game sweep of the Northern Colorado Bears this past weekend inside Presley Askew Field.

NMSU won game one 10-3 and followed the win with a 7-4 victory on Saturday. In the series finale, the Aggies jumped out to a 5-0 first-inning lead and never allowed the Bears to threaten in the 6-2 win.

Brent Sakurai led off the bottom of the first inning with a single against UNC pitcher Aaron Hamilton. Austin Botello was walked after Joey Ortiz popped out, and NMSU perfectly executed a double steal to put both runners in scoring position.

Dan Hetzel converted on a sacrifice fly to score Sakurai to break the seal on the scoring for the Sunday matinee, and Tristen Carranza slapped a single up the middle to score Botello to double the Aggie lead to 2-0.

Catcher Mason Fishback closed out the first-inning scoring with a three-run home run off the scoreboard in left-center field to open the lead to 5-0.

NMSU (26-15, 11-1 WAC) decided to use a staff day in the game, meaning they would use the entire bullpen and leave it up the scorekeeper’s discretion as to who to award the win to. Andy Frakes got his second-career start for the Aggies and did a fantastic job managing the game and using his defense to get outs.

“We talked about picking each other up, and sometimes you are not going to have it (production) at the plate so we will need to pitch well and vice versa, but what an effort by Frakes,” NMSU head coach Brian Green said. “He brought it and we absolutely had to have it. We got that run in the eighth (inning) and it gave us some space. It was a great game for us and a great weekend for us.”

Frakes went 4.0 innings pitched and allowed only one earned run in 48 pitches. The senior side-winder is used to being brought out of the bullpen in later innings, and adapted to a new role and flourished to keep the Aggies rolling in WAC play.

Matt McHugh came in relief of Frakes and went 3.1 innings pitched and got out of a couple jams as the Bears (15-22, 4-8 WAC) tried to claw back into the game.

“You have to be able to win games when you aren’t hitting and we did that today and I am fired up about that,” Green said. “It was a great efoort from our guys and it shows them that there are different ways to win.”

NMSU will host Grand Canyon in a three-game series this weekend that will ultimately decide the WAC regular season champion. The first game is Friday at 6 p.m. at Presley Askew Field.

The Battle to Graduation

By: Jianna Vasquez

As another semester comes to end, it is time to say goodbye to another group of seniors.

Ashlerose Francia will walk across the stage inside the Pan Am on May 13 to receive her diploma.

Francia’s road to graduation hasn’t been easy, but it will be worth it because she will be the first in her family to graduate from a university.

Francia was adopted at a very early age and lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first seven year of her life. Growing up, Francia admits that her family was low-income, but it was a factor that has contributed to her pursuing her education from a young age.

“My mom pushed me to work hard in school,” said Francia. “She was always active in my childhood.”

At the age of seven Francia and her family moved to Rosewell, New Mexico. Francia mother, Rosemary Matta, enrolled her in a charter school for her middle school years.

“My mother was always making sure I got the best schooling,” said Francia. The charter school provided Francia with many resources, put her in gifted programs and made sure she was on track for success. Francia admits that this school was another factor in helping her on journey to graduation.

Although, Francia was on the right track for several years that all changed when she was in high school.

“When I went to high school I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Francia admits. “I wasn’t doing my homework and I had bad grades.”

Francia was drained and tired of school. Francia’s mother continued to push her in academic’s even if Francia wasn’t doing too well.

“My mom was mad at me all the time telling me I needed to get it together,” said Francia.

Toward the end of her junior year in high school, Franica took her ACT and got a high score. Because of Francia’s high scores she was given a full-ride scholarship to NMSU.

“I was super excited I would be going to college,” said Francia.

In the fall of 2012, Francia attended her first semester at NMSU, but the setbacks continued.

Her parents were getting a divorce and she wasn’t adjusting to college, she failed a class and lost her scholarship.

Francia’s determination to get an education kept her striving for success. She got a job at Wal-mart and began to work over 40 hours a week so she could pay for her school.

“It was so hard,” said Francia. The following semester Francia met with a scholarship advisor that help her put things into prospective.

After meeting with the scholarship advisor Francia decided that her education was the most important thing and she needed to continue to push towards getting her degree.

“I wasn’t doing as well as I would have liked,” said Francia.

Francia got her scholarship back and after the spring of 2014 and started taking online classes to get back on track.

From the fall of 2015 Francia has maintained a 4.0 GPA and began to join many clubs and organizations around the campus that have helped her make it to where she is today.

Although Francia admits that it hasn’t been an easy journey to graduation she knows that she isn’t the only student who has struggled to making it to graduation.

“You are your first priority and if something isn’t working for you, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” advises Francia.

Francia will receive her degree in Criminal Justice and Government with a supplementary major in Law and society, this May.

Being the first in her family to graduate not only makes her proud, but it also makes her mother and 11-year-old sister, Alex, proud.

Francia’s mother sends her a message, “Myself and Alex are proud of you and we love you very much.”

Commencement ceremony for NMSU will be held Saturday, May 13. For any information you can call 575-646-7382

A Trike Unlike Any Other

By: Isaiah Silva

One Aggie is literally, building his dream from the ground up. James Owen, a Mechanical Engineering Technology student, is building a prototype for his own invention. Owen wants to bring something new to the table in the sport known as, “trike drifting.”

“They’re essentially oversized tricycles. The sport itself started in Auckland, New Zealand, made its way to Australia, and then really as of recently has come over to the United States. It’s really up-and-coming; I think there are still a lot of people who don’t know about it,” Owen said.

Owen got his start with Aggie Shark Tank in the spring of 2016. Aggie Shark Take models itself like the television show, Shark Tank. Entrepreneurs present their inventions to investors in hopes that they will get a chance to take their dreams to the next level.

“I essentially saw an advertisement for Aggie Shark Tank and I thought, ‘Well, why not make this passion a business,’ and that was really actually when it got started,” Owen said.

It was through Aggie Shark Tank that Owen met the CEO of Mesilla Valley Transportation, Royal Jones. Jones was one of five investors in the Shark Tank.

“He said, ‘Look, you can use our labor, you can use our components, and hey, we got one of the best paint booths in town, so I’ll even paint it for you too,’” Owen said. “He saw an interest in it and he really wanted to see it go somewhere, so he gave me that opportunity.”

When Owen started, he designed the initial frame on the computer, using 3D modeling. What is special is that although the frame followed some drift trikes before, it was completely custom to Owen. He didn’t do it alone though, Owen has had some people join him on his journey.

“I would say, kind of along this venture, I’ve had a lot of guidance from various friends and such. But, I brought on a buddy of mine, Michael Rogers, who is also in the Engineering Department with me. I brought him on as the cofounder, so he played a role in helping me get this trike developed,” Owen said.

The trike was completed around October/November 2016. Owen has made a lot of progress and modifications to the trike, so it is a lot different than how it was back in March 2016.

“The plan for this year is to essentially wrap up the prototype, set our sights on a new prototype. Something that is, I want to do something along the lines of a collapsible trike, so something really mobile, something that customers can fit in the back of their car,” Owen said.

Before Owen devotes himself to the drift trike business, he wants to get a feel for the market and see if there is a demand. If so, he will start the process of pushing out units. One of Owen’s ideas to get drift trikes more exposure is to have what he calls, “Drift Trike Days.” This will showcase the drift trikes and allow people to ride them.

“That’s the biggest struggle we’ve encountered right now is just informing everyone of what a drift trike is. That’s the vision,” Owen said. “The mission statement, if you will, is to give everyone the experience, the thrill of a drift trike. You really don’t know what it’s like until you ride it.”

Owen has many goals as to where he wants his drift trikes to go. They include the possibility of doing made-to-order trikes and going into full production, not mass production, but doing a small number at a time. Owen expects to go back on Aggie Shark Tank with his prototype. Aggie Shark Tank is held every semester.

Round Up Exclusive: Interview with President Kevin Prieto

By: Albert Luna

The Round Up recently sat down with ASNMSU President-Elect Kevin Prieto, just days after his narrow victory in the run-off election for the Presidency. Prieto, the outgoing Vice President, was sworn into office on Thursday, April 27, during ASNMSU’s Senate Session. However, for University payroll purposes, he technically does not assume office from a budget standpoint until May 16. The Round Up asked President-Elect Prieto how he thinks his term will go, what is first objectives will be, and where he sees student media going as a whole headed towards next year. Here are his responses.

What was your initial reaction when you found out you had won the Presidency?

“First thing was a sigh of relief since I didn’t have to campaign anymore. Then I reached out and thanked my opponent on a great race. Then almost immediately started to think about hiring people and just start getting to work and making sure that we will be ready to go. It’s basically a break for a couple of minute’s then right back to work”

Although your basic agenda was laid out during campaigning, once you assume office, what are the main points you want to act on? Where do you want to start?

“I want to start with introductions and being able to go out and meet all of the people and positions that I will be working with and building up those relationships as quick as possible. I want people to know who I am so they feel comfortable in me as a leader and also so they can come talk to me. The second thing is just to hire a great staff and make sure that we get a good pool of applicants”

Once you hire a new staff, what will be the main message you give them initially in terms of what you all want to accomplish in your time here?

“I think it starts with positive energy and a positive culture. I want a positive office so that the results can show to students to show that we are happy doing our job and we love our job. We also need to make sure that we are efficient with people’s time and people’s money and also that we are open and people know what we are doing as well as listening to the people. I think reminding people [the staff] who they work for is the biggest thing and that is the students”

How has transition with outgoing President Matt Bose been?

“I wished we would have talked a lot more during our terms [2016-2017 school year] but our schedules were always so different, but he’s been great he congratulated me [via text] right away after he found out I won. He took me the next day and we synched up calendars to where I am going to all of his meetings he is going to and he has been introducing me to everyone, he has really made it effortless. It helps that we are really good friends and so it is almost like we are having just another normal conversation when we are talking about it [the transition].”

While you are transitioning to the Presidency, you are also helping the new Vice President, Emerson Morrow, transition to what will now be your old office. Along with helping him transition into his seat, how do you see yourself now working beside him as your Vice President?

“I think it is just getting comfortable and building those communications. Both of us are from Las Cruces which is a benefit, although we did go to rival high schools; I think that really helps, we will be here during the summer most of the time working together. Our goals are already set and I think that we are ahead of schedule and I am excited”

How do you see this summer playing out with the forthcoming budget cuts as well as more than likely tuition increase with just the economics of the University and ASNMSU?

“I think we have to be ready for anything. We should have an open mindset and say ‘what can we do and how can we work within our means’. Yes we can fight and complain about what we are going to get, but ultimately we don’t have enough time to complain we just have to keep the work on. A big issue we see is a lack of creativity, we need to work within the budget and get creative. I will be expecting to hope for the best but be preparing for the worst”

How do you see the Department of Student Media [Both the Round Up and KRUX 91.5 FM] and their welfare going forward during your time?

“I think it’s just collaboration and communication. I would more than love to do a partnership deal with you all [Student Media] such as doing a tabling event and just combining forces and let people know ‘we [ASNMSU] are your Student Government and this is your Student Media’. We are separate entities which is a great thing to have but we also work with each other and support each other and ultimately achieve the goal of both of us letting the students know we are there for them. That’s the goal.”

One thing you want to tell any students that will be either incoming or perhaps did not vote for you coming into this next school year?

“I would like to say thank you to everyone that went out to go vote. It’s not about supporting me but the fact that you went out and voted, we had a record turnout for voting for this year which is more than ever before. If we can keep that excitement up from the campaign, we can do amazing things, let’s get the engagement back up and make sure we are passionate about the school that we are going to. I want to be the means and the voice for students to enjoy their four years here”