Faculty Senate President Welcomes Students and Families on First-Year Family Day

Newly elected Faculty Senate President and Associate Professor of Rhetoric & Writing, Cristyn Elder welcomed students and faculty to campus at Fall 2023 Fist-Year Convocation in Popejoy on First-Year Family Day. The ceremony began with Finnie Coleman, Associate Professor of American Literary Studies and Faculty Senate Past-President, passing the mace to Elder.

Finnie Coleman (left) passing the mace to Cristyn Elder (right)

Upon welcoming attendees, Elder emphasized for students that while they are now a part of protecting the Lobo Pack and helping it thrive, the Pack is only as strong as its individual members. Elder then prompted students to keep in mind four questions while working towards their goals on campus: 1) Why am I here? 2) How am I feeling? 3) Who can I turn to? 4) What can I do to help stay on track? The central message for students was that their physical, mental, and emoitional well-being is priority number one.

Here is the complete text of Elder’s remarks:

Good afternoon. It is my great honor, on behalf of your professors and the Faculty Senate, to welcome you to the University of New Mexico! We’re excited you’re here. Welcome to the Pack.

During these last days of summer, [I know] you’ll want to begin thinking about, if you haven’t already, what you want your role to be in protecting the Pack and allowing it to thrive.

However, a Pack is only as strong as its individual members. Therefore, I want to share with you four questions to ask yourself and keep in mind while you’re at UNM:

First, ask yourself, why am I here? In addition to earning a degree, what do you hope to get out of the experience? Is it to make new friends, explore a new area of study, join a club, get an internship? All of the above? Because while your studies are important, so is your growth in these other areas. But learning to balance it all can feel like the tricky part.

Second, as you work toward your degree, ask yourself, how am I feeling? I cannot emphasize enough that your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is priority number one. So, if you feel like you’re falling behind, if you feel there’s too much on your plate, please reach out. I promise it will work out so much better than simply trying to solve things on your own.

When it’s time to reach out, because there is always that time for each of us, ask yourself, third, who can I turn to? I encourage you to identify a student, a professor, a staff person, or a resource center on campus that you connect with. We can help in both big and small ways.

Once you’re feeling yourself again, ask yourself, fourth, what can I do to help stay on track? I have a very simple yet powerful piece of advice for you: keep a calendar– whether on your phone, your computer, or in print. (And I highly recommend one that’s color coded.) Write down not only the days and times your classes meet, but when assignments are due, and what times during the week you’ll set aside to work on those assignments. But, also, be sure to schedule in time with friends and family, time for sleeping, and time for quiet reflection. Yes, set aside the time you need to work toward your academic goals, but also set aside time with others so that your achievements are not only your own but also those of your community.

So, with the start of this great big new adventure of yours at UNM, when you see me on campus (or in class), I hope you’ll say “Hi, Cris!” and let me and others know how you’re doing. Go Lobos!