Celebrating light, giving thanks, giving back

Many cultures around the world celebrate this time of the year with light, music, dance, food and community events. All around our hemisphere, the harvest is in, the days are colder and the nights are longer. Communities come together to celebrate another year of bounty, of family and of learning. I sincerely hope that you all have much to be thankful for during this season that is so rich in traditions.

Last weekend, I attended Roshni, the Festival of Light, organized by our Indian Student Association, and last year around the same time, I attended Noche de Luminarias, one of those traditions unique to New Mexico. This year’s Noche de Luminarias will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1. The community is invited to wander around campus and enjoy the lights. Inside Corbett Center Student Union, there will be entertainment, and visitors can meet Santa, Pistol Pete and even Striking the Wonder Dog.

Scene from 28th annual Noche de Luminarias event (photo by Darren Phillips)

On Dec. 3, we will observe a newer NMSU tradition, Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a great day of celebration, and everybody is invited to drop by the Aggie Lounge in Corbett Center, starting at 9 a.m. Your donation can go farther to help your favorite cause on Giving Tuesday because the NMSU Foundation will match up to $1,000 per household, while funds are available.

In our daily work, we all support the land-grant mission of NMSU, but Giving Tuesday provides us the opportunity to support our students and the community. The NMSU Foundation allows you to specify how you want your donation invested.

  • If you are interested in helping students get through college, know that all NMSU colleges and many departments have a general scholarship fund that you can search for in the online donation form. Another option is the Aggie Finish Line Degree Completion Fund. It serves seniors within one or two semesters of graduation, who are in academic good standing, and who have exhausted federal and state financial aid.
  • If you want to address hunger in our community, contribute to Aggie Cupboard, our food bank. The Las Cruces cupboard serves the Las Cruces and Doña Ana campuses; another cupboard serves Alamogordo. Their good work distributes literally tons of food to NMSU students and employees.
  • If you want to assist students with financial distress, the Aggie Student Emergency Fund (Las Cruces campus) and the Student Emergency Fund (Doña Ana campus) help students dealing with a financial emergency. On Giving Tuesday, you can double your donation to the Las Cruces fund: the President’s Executive Team and members of the Chancellor’s Office are matching the first $6,000 in donations!
  • If you are concerned about homelessness, another option new this year is the Emergency Housing Fund, which helps students on the Las Cruces and Doña Ana campuses secure housing.
  • If none of the above causes excite you, please search for other options on the online donation form, or create your own by contacting annualgiving@nmsu.edu or by calling 575-646-1613.

I conclude with two final items. This is the last week to let us know when you prefer to receive the weekly email communication from NMSU administration. If there is a day that works better than Friday, we are interested in knowing. And lastly, NMSU LEADS 2025 has a new website! As we have moved from planning to implementation, NMSU LEADS 2025 needed a home with enough space to post information as we make progress on the strategic plan. Take a look at the new site, and send any comments to me at President.Floros@nmsu.edu.

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