Casas del Rio
Casas del Rio is one of many student housing options available on campus.
Credit: Nathan Center

Living on campus, especially as a freshman, has some clear advantages for students that can help them adjust to college and strengthen their chances for graduation. UNM offers a number of resources designed to help students succeed that may not be readily available at nearby apartment complexes.

“Safety and security is our number one concern,” said Chris Vallejos, associate vice president for Institutional Services. “But we also have a very comprehensive environment that allows us to help guide students toward success. We are able to identify issues early and often, which then allows us to address them.”

Those resources range from round-the-clock security and resident advisors who have direct contact with University police to assistance such as counseling, advising and tutoring for students who are struggling to adapt.

“For instance, if it’s with schooling we can get them to CAPS for tutoring,” Vallejos said. “If it’s behavioral, such as a problem with alcohol or drugs, we can get them counseling. We have a very structured program that we can monitor and hold students accountable through our campus disciplinary process.”

The courtyard at Casas Del Rio, a UNM student housing complex.

Another key component that enriches campus life is the living learning communities in the residence halls that matches students with similar needs or interests. Vallejos says the goal is to get them involved so they don’t feel alone or isolated.

“A good example is our BA/MD students who all live, learn and work together,” he said. “We have  them all located on a couple of floors in one of the halls. They mold together; they help one another; they share and learn together. That’s the type of support systems that we can offer.”

The University has almost doubled the number of students living on campus in the past few years, in an effort to encourage student engagement and academic success. With the addition of Casas Del Rio and Lobo Village, the number of students in campus housing jumped from 2,200 to about 4,000. The structure of campus living runs counter to the advertised experience at some off-campus residential areas, but University designers put a great deal of thought into creating spaces that are fun and offer positive social and educational experiences.

“College is a challenge, but we have the resources to make it not only an enjoyable experience, but also a successful one that leads to graduation,” Vallejos said.