Student governments from New Mexico and El Paso wrap up ‘Rivals for Relief’ campaign


Leah De La Torre

Rivals for Relief was a collaborative campaign by the student governments of UNM, NMSU and UTEP, to raise funds for immigration issues in their communities. Illustration by Leah De La Torre

Student governments from the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and the University of Texas El Paso, wrapped up their collaborative campaign Rivals for Relief in an attempt to raise $30,000 for immigration issues in their communities.

The fundraiser was a response to the influx of refugees arriving at the southern borders of New Mexico and Texas. This increase has led to the depletion of resources available to migrants in each city, resulting in a state of emergency being declared in El Paso back in December 2022. This prompted the student presidents of each school, Garrett Moseley, Ian May and Gabriela Muñoz to take action. 

Rivals for Relief ran from Feb. 6 to Feb. 17 and raised about $2,105 between the three schools. These funds will go directly to immigrant relief nonprofit programs throughout Las Cruces, Albuquerque and El Paso, to ensure that immigrants in each city have access to essential services to support their basic needs.  

Garrett Moseley, president of ASNMSU, that hearing reports of the conditions at the border in his state was something he couldn’t ignore. 

“Being a representative of the student body at a Hispanic Serving Institution and seeing how so many of our students are immigrants, their parents are immigrants, and just first-generation US citizens, I saw it as something that was really personal to me and I felt like I was in a position where I could use my platform to try to make a change,” Moseley said.  

 I reached out to the student body president at UTEP and UNM because we all serve similar populations in our city, so I ran the idea by them of if we teamed up to do a philanthropy initiative. And they liked the idea and we all really bought into it,” he continued. 

While the fundraiser fell short of its goal of $30,000, the schools still feel that any amount of money raised is a success. Now, The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, who operated the webpage for the campaign’s donations, will be working closely with the schools to allocate the funds. 

The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico has multiple connections to nonprofits that work within this area,” said Terra Winter, president of the foundation. We will solicit small grant applications which will be reviewed by the student body president allowing them to award multiple grants to organizations in our region. 

Although the donation webpage did list each of the three schools’ funds separately to “spur on some rivalry,”  the fundraiser has been important in cooperation between the three schools. Rivals for Relief marks the first event in which NMSU, UNM and UTEP have all come together for any cause. 

Ian May, president of ASUNM, said that although historically there has been a lot of sports rivalry between the three schools, that wasn’t a negative factor in this fundraiser. Instead, it became more of an inspiration for collaboration of the three student presidents.

I think we’re all just students out here trying to advocate for other students; we have that shared goal,” May said. In the past there has been some student government rivalry, and I don’t want to downplay that because I think it makes it all the more important that we kind of just came together. I just think that at the end of the day, students building bridges and working together is really cool. 

Although there are no official plans for future collaborations between the schools as of now, May is hoping that this fundraiser is just the beginning. Now that the groundwork has been laid for a good relationship between the three schools, he wants to continue to work together on issues like immigrant relief. 

While funds raised during the Rivals for Relief campaign will be distributed to local nonprofits in the near future, ASNMSU President Garrett Moseley explained that more than anything else, he hopes this fundraiser brought awareness for the crisis at the southern border regardless of its discussion in political arenas.

To me, it’s much more of a humanitarian thing,” Moseley said. “We were in a position to try to help and that’s what we wanted to do and I think just seeing the humanity in situations and not making everything political, being able to have an open dialogue and focusing on trying to find solutions instead of trying to point at different sides, I hope is a takeaway from this.  

“As students, I hope my peers also see that as students we have a voice and we have platforms and when we work together, we can make we can make great things happen,” Moseley said 

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