Spring semester kicks off with Miner Welcome

Itzel Giron, Audience Engagement Editor

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  • Students check in at the Student Engagement and Leadership booth which also provided water and snacks to those who stopped by the Union Jan. 18.

  • Students take photos at the photobooth provided by the Student Engagement and Leadership Center outside the Union Building Jan. 18.

  • Student organizations start off the semester tabling at the Union Jan. 18 to get students more involved.

  • The Student Engagement and Leadership Center encouraged students to write about their dreams on a board in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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UTEPs’ spring semester started Tuesday, Jan. 18, with a collection of Miner Welcome events to get students involved and help them embrace their Miner pride. 

The two-week event includes the Get Involved Fair, Health and Wellbeing Fair, a sorority open house to the men’s and women’s basketball games against UTSA. 

Students filled the Union Breezeway and participated in multiple free giveaways, small games and received UTEP memorabilia. For freshman Katarina Rivas it was an opportunity to network with groups on campus and with other students with similar interests. 

“It’s my second semester on campus and I love being able to see all the events UTEP creates for us (students) to enjoy.” Rivas said. “I personally loved the photobooths; they’re memories that I can keep forever.” 

However, with the rise in COVID-19 cases across the city, many might remain hesitant to take part in any school events. The rise of the Omicron variant has created uncertainty and pushed back certain events planned for the Miner Welcome. 

Assistant Dean of Students for Engagement Charlin Jones-Chavez, Ph.D. tells students that SELC has taken all precautions to keep the events COVID-safe. From signage recommending mask use to postponing some events that might be a risk to students.  

“We made some adjustments due to the increasing rise of the Omicron variant, so we have postponed a few events that are going to be in a higher density indoor space,.” Jones-Chavez said. 

Those events included a hypnotist, distinguished speaker, and Friday Night Flicks at Union Cinema. Allowing social distancing to occur, events were pushed to more open spaces such as the Union Breezeway and spread across each floor in the Union Building. 

Masks are encouraged to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as per an email sent by UTEP President Heather Wilson to staff and faculty. 

With most events wrapping up tomorrow, SELC and SGA have more events planned throughout the semester in which students can take part.  

“SGA is working closely with me to hopefully have Minerfest happen again this semester,” Jones-Chavez said. “There are a lot of opportunities to not only engage, socialize, but get to know one another now and in the future. I am super excited that Friday Night Flicks will be returning this semester, The 21st Century Southwest Leadership Experience, programming around our heritage like Asian Pacific Islander Heritage celebration opportunities including so many other things in the future.” 

This is only the beginning of the semester and countless events are planned throughout. Students are encouraged to sign up on MineTracker for future Miner Welcome events. 


Itzel Giron is the Audience & Engagement editor and may be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.