Town Hall gives COVID-19 updates, hosts student leaders to discuss importance of getting involved on campus

Ernesto Cisneros

More stories from Ernesto Cisneros


Town Hall webinar hosted through Zoom on Feb. 15.

The Office of the Chancellor held its monthly town hall webinar on Feb.15 where continued COVID-19 updates were given. A few student leaders were also allowed the chance to speak about their organizations to highlight the importance of campus resources and opportunities, considering the national decline in students attending and interested in college.  

As always, the webinar opened with COVID-19 updates. John Webster, NMSU COVID-19 project manager, noted how the population positivity rate remains steady with active cases declining and only a handful of students and employees having to quarantine. The high compliance of campus protocols is showing positive results.  

Dr. Kathryn Hanley, regent biology professor who is on the COVID-19 response team, said the virus will likely be around for a while and may even be treated like influenza.  

“My prognostication for the future of boosts, I don’t think that we’re going to be in a situation where every three months we have to be boosted and I suspect that the mandates for continual boosting will also alleviate once everybody’s been through their three-dose series,” Hanley said.  

As for masks, Hanley emphasized the importance of wearing them despite the lifting of restrictions “until we’re really sure that transmission is going to stay on that nice downward arc.”  

The later portion of the webinar welcomed student leaders to speak on the importance of student clubs, getting involved and taking advantage of resources. A push to have students more involved was highlighted because of a national trend in declining college and university enrollments. ASNMSU President Matthew Madrid said this is attributed to students not seeing the value of campus support and not taking advantage of it.  

“One of the drivers for retention is student engagement and that goes for joining clubs and organizations, fraternity and sorority life … there’s a number of different factors that kind of add into the outside of classroom experience,” Madrid said.  

Hunter Stewart, vice president of the Black Student Association and Stephanie Frisch, former campus tutor, briefly spoke about their organizations and some events happening throughout the month to bring students out.  

“Campus tutoring is exactly what it sounds like, tutoring for all undergraduate students, it’s free to all students, it’s part of student fees so you kind of pay for it through your tuition and fees so it’s definitely awesome to take advantage of,” Frisch explained.  

One of the areas that campus tutoring helps with is certification preparation such as with HESI, a required exam for nursing students. Madrid mentioned that ASNMSU’s professional development fund reimburses costs for those types of certifications and is worth looking into.  

Stewart, on behalf of the Black Student Association, also encouraged anyone interested to attend their events throughout the remaining month to celebrate Black History. Some of those events include dancing, presentations and roller skating. Dates and times can be found on their social media and website 

The town hall webinars are held monthly; students are encouraged to submit questions online under the town hall tab on the Chancellor’s website or can call the Office of the Chancellor at (575) 646-2035 for more information.  

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