Student participation increases for homecoming events

Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

Richard Daniel, executive director of alumni relations, said he has noticed an increase in student participation every year for homecoming and student participation in campus events in general.

“When I was here seven years ago, I didn’t see students here late in the afternoon. By 12 o’clock, it was dead. Now I see more Miner spirit, more UTEP shirts and hats,” Daniel said. “I come from the perspective that students’ engagement is very important, particularly from a
communal perspective.”

One obstacle UTEP faces is that it is a commuter school.

“The whole purpose is bringing people back,” said Gary Edens, vice president for student affairs.

At UTEP, 2.7 percent of students live on campus while 83.6 percent come from the El Paso County. Surprisingly, the majority who live on campus are from El Paso. These students are coming from Fabens, San Elizario and Clint.

The increase in pride at UTEP is attributed to a plethora of reasons. The student housing population is rising. Students living on campus have risen from over 250 students to over 1,000. Consulting sources say there are another 2,500 students living near UTEP. The school also employs 2,500 students every semester.

For events such as the homecoming parade, UTEP has seen an increase in student engagement and student life.

“We are going to redefine student life here at UTEP,” said Catie McCorry-Andalis, assistant vice president for student life and associate dean of students. “We want to continue and support that growth.”

McCorry-Andalis said once the Centennial Plaza is compete, students may spend more time on campus. She also said the infrastructure of the center of campus has been designed for student life. There will be room for platforms, stages, benches and its sound system will rival that of the Sun Bowl’s. 

“There will always be a different feel for us, an urban institution, than compared to Austin, Texas A&M and Texas Tech,” Edens said. “There will always be that difference because we’re not trying to be like those universities.” 

UTEP did not have a top 10 ranking 10 years ago and an enrollment of 23,000 students. Through the work of all the distinguished alumni, students today and sticking to its identity, UTEP is now a top 10 school, as ranked by Washington Monthly, and is expected to have 30,000 students in the next few years.

Luis Barrio may be reached at