New Mexico State University’s Black Programs has a new home.
Black Programs unveiled its new, larger space on the second floor of Corbett Center Student Union on Monday, Nov. 7, capping off a yearslong effort led by students to move the program from its former headquarters in Garcia Center.
“The students stepped up and spoke up, and as a result of their persistence, we have a new facility,” said Bobbie Green, interim director of Black Programs. “I thought it was important to make this new facility as welcoming and inviting as possible for students and make them feel a sense of belonging. I’m pleased with NMSU’s leadership for granting us the space to thrive.”
The new space is about twice the size of the previous location, boasting an open-floor concept with several computer stations, a kitchen, a lounge with a flat-screen TV and couches, and wall-mounted artwork honoring several prominent Black heroes.
“When I came in, I thought it was important to get pictures on the wall,” Green said. “I brought in a decorator to look at the space and give us his recommendations. What you see now is a result of his vision. We wanted the students to see heroes that look like them.”
More than 50 years ago, Black Programs was founded on a mission to unite NMSU students of African American, Caribbean and African descent by increasing the awareness and appreciation of Black history through educational, cultural, social and academic programs. For much of that time, the program had been housed in Garcia Center. In recent years, students began pushing for an improved space, said Green, who became program’s interim director in September.
“After 50 years of the same facility and no improvements, the students’ demands were finally met. This is their vision and request,” Green said.
Teresa Maria Linda Scholz, NMSU 's vice president for equity, inclusion and diversity, said spaces assist in fostering community, creativity, collaboration and connection – all important factors to ensuring student success.
“At NMSU, ABC (African, African American, Black, Caribbean) students expressed their need for a new space precisely for creating a sense belonging and community building,” Scholz said. “The energy that I felt at the open house is energy connected to a new space, and energy that foreshadows a promising future for Black Programs and for the students who are supported by the program. Thank you to the Black Student Association leadership, students, staff and faculty affiliated with Black Programs, and Dr. Bobbie Green for shepherding this new space into existence.”
Green said the new space is open to all students, especially students of color who are starting their college education.
“I want this to be a place where they can come and get help through their first semester,” Green said. “The dropout rate for first-year students between their first and second semesters is somewhere around 60%. We want to ensure that we help those students and give them a safe space.”
Garrett Moseley, president of the Associated Students of NMSU, said the new space in the “hub of campus” offers Black Programs more visibility.
“I would like students to use this space as their home on campus,” Moseley said. “It should be a place for them to come, feel connected to campus, feel a part of their community, and where they know they can decompress and take a step back from school life and focus on themselves and find comfort on campus.”
Black Programs, now located in Room 234 in Corbett Center Student Union, is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 575-646-4208, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://blackprograms.nmsu.edu/index.html.