In what has become an annual fall tradition at The University of New Mexico, The 2022 UNM Gives United Way Campaign kicks off in New Mexican style with the 4th annual Salsa Showdown competition set for Tuesday, Oct. 4. 

Registration to submit recipes is now underway and is limited to the first 10 entries. The deadline to register for the contest is Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. The prize for the winning salsa recipe is one year of free parking, equal to an existing parking permit (courtesy of PATS).

Despite a global pandemic, each of the past two years, The University has still managed to kick off its annual UNM Gives Campaign to raise funds for the United Way of Central New Mexico with the Salsa Showdown. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate with the best salsa recipe on campus. If you’ve got an old family favorite—or maybe it’s that “famous salsa” you’re always asked to bring to picnics and parties—submit your recipe by Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The entries (10) will be prepared by UNM’s Chartwells Catering, and on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Lobos can grab a bag of chips and a sample of the competing salsas in the SUB atrium, then vote online for their favorite. The winner will get more than just bragging rights; UNM Parking and Transportation (PATS) will also waive the cost of your parking for the rest of the academic year. It’s a great way to take care of that salsa craving while bringing awareness to a great cause.

Sponsored by the Office of the President, this year’s Grab N’ Go Salsa Showdown event, will have a similar format as last year including limited participation (10 contestants) and online voting, all due to the continued health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19.

Entrants competing in the Salsa Showdown will register and submit their favorite homemade salsa recipes while Chartwells Catering will prepare the salsa the day of the event. Attendees will pick up a “Grab N’ Go” bag of chips and salsa, taste at the location of their choosing and vote for their favorite.

Tasting takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the SUB from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. or while supplies last. The event will be competitive, tasty and will once again help kick off this year’s UNM Gives United Way Campaign. Voting will be available beginning Oct. 4 at 12:30 p.m. through Oct. 7 at 5 p.m.

The annual Salsa Showdown has become a huge draw generating excitement for the UNM Gives United Way campaign. In 2019, more than 200 people attended the inaugural event, in-person event and cast more than 700 votes for the 20+ entries. The winner was determined by popular vote.

After the success of the 2019 event, UNM Gives United Way campaign organizers were determined to host the event in 2020 and figured out a fun way to conduct it amid the state’s COVID-19 health guidelines with the Grab N’ Go concept. While state health guidelines have loosened up a bit the past couple of years, campaign organizers felt it was still prudent to conduct the event with the utmost health safety in mind.

“With the grab-and-go approach, we can kick off our annual fundraising campaign to support the important work of the United Way with a tasty, fun and competitive Showdown while still following COVID-19 guidelines,” said UNM Gives campaign coordinator Bridget Noonen.

The University of New Mexico has been a proud supporter of the United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) for over 30 years. Last year’s UNM Gives Campaign raised over $516,000. UNM’s participation in the United Way Campaign goes far beyond supporting the annual campaign. Many faculty, staff and students volunteer with UWCNM, participate in events, and help year-round through service and volunteering.

For more information on the annual campaign, visit United Way of Central New Mexico.