The University of New Mexico Global Education Office (GEO) and UNM Bookstores are celebrating the grand opening of a new Passport Center in the main campus bookstore on Friday, May 5 from 1:30–3 p.m.

“This is an exciting new service that UNM can provide to its students, faculty, staff, as well as the greater Albuquerque community,” said Nicole Tami, executive director for global education initiatives. “Having a passport is a prerequisite for participating in any type of study or research opportunity abroad. Many of the students who participate in programs overseas describe their experiences as life changing.”

Designated by the U.S. Department of State as an official passport acceptance facility, UNM joins small number of acceptance locations in the metropolitan area. The UNM Passport Center offers friendly and efficient service Tuesday through Saturday, which includes appointments and walk-ins.

The UNM Passport Center offers a unique experience with the convenient amenities of the UNM Bookstore, which includes a relaxed, welcoming environment with a Satellite Coffee, Technology Center and La Montañita Co-op within its facility.

“We are excited to have this new partnership with the Global Education Office. This will expand the service programs that we offer at UNM Bookstores,” said Carrie Mitchell, director for UNM Bookstores. “What a great way to reach out to the UNM community and the Albuquerque community by offering a convenient location for passport applications and renewals.”

Tami said the Passport Center will provide the opportunity to develop new sources of funding for student and faculty international mobility. Through utilizing internal resources and collaborating with the UNM Bookstore, Tami sees an opportunity for the initiative to not only fund itself, but capture revenue to invest in international education.

“In these challenging financial times it is important to be creative and entrepreneurial,” said Tami. “This initiative is a win-win as it expands a needed service to our community and can assist with increasing international opportunities for Lobos.”

UNM’s Passport Center follows all regulated U.S. Department of State pricing guidelines. There are no additional costs to obtain a new U.S. passport by utilizing UNM’s center.

The UNM Passport Center will additionally serve as an educational resource highlighting the study abroad and international program opportunities available to students through GEO and community members through departments like Continuing Education, for example.

UNM currently offers over 300 study abroad opportunities in 50 countries to students, including students at the UNM branch campuses.

“Over the last five years we have created a focus on providing more Lobos a global experience,” said Wright. “We have seen a 98 percent increase in study abroad participation in that timeframe.”

Wright added that students who study abroad tend to have increased grade point averages, greater development of soft-skills, and are perceived more competitive in the job market.

“We live in a rapidly evolving international economy,” said Wright. “Global experiences prepare our students to succeed in multicultural, dynamic work environments and stimulate innovation and creativity.”

All members of the community are welcome to attend the grand opening on May 5 from 1:30–3 p.m. Hourly parking is available at the nearby Cornell Parking Garage.

For more information about the event or the UNM Passport Center visit the UNM Passport Office website