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UTEP housing welcomes a variety of students

Joel Molina
Freshman beach volleyball player, Sophia Sheppard (pictured in the blue UTEP shirt) poses for a photo with her family before moving into Miner Village.

This past weekend, UTEP Housing and Residence welcomed students from across the world into its three housing complexes. This includes Miner Village, Miner Canyon and Miner Heights.  

One of those students was Sophia Sheppard, an incoming freshman majoring in psychology. Sheppard is a part of UTEP’s beach volleyball team and will spend her first year at UTEP in Miner Village.  

Sheppard, who moved from Washington state, notes how UTEP housing differs from other college residential housing.  

“I’m really excited with the dorms that we’ve got,” Sheppard said. “A lot of my friends at other colleges have only a bathroom in their rooms and they are right next to each other. It’s really nice how we have a whole setup to do our own thing.”  

Sheppard was accompanied by her family who helped her move in and managed to describe her mixed emotions on move-in day.  

“I’m not nervous anymore,” Sheppard said. “It is obviously very hard to leave your family, but I’m pretty independent.”  

Sophia’s mother, Shauna Sheppard, shared some bittersweet words as she dropped off her daughter to college.  

“Well, it’s hard,” Shauna said. “I mean, I’m super excited. It’s such a great opportunity for her to be independent and have this time in her life. She’s my first to go to college, so that’s been a challenge. But yeah, I just couldn’t be happier or excited.”  

Another incoming freshman moving in was Luke Watts. Watts is from Austin, Texas and is a general studies major who is serving as a student assistant for the UTEP men’s basketball team.  

Watts was charmed by the culture, not just at UTEP, but the entire El Paso area.  

“El Paso is just a cool place,” Watts said. “It’s way different. (I am) just getting started and getting in the groove of everything.”  

A big attraction to Miner Village is its proximity to campus and both local and chain restaurants. Watts pointed out that most things are simply within walking distance.  

“It’s sweet,” Watts said. “Walking to everything. We got food options right here and all that good stuff.”  

Like Sheppard, Watts is in awe of Miner Village’s units despite it not being a major factor in choosing UTEP for school.   

“These are very nice dorms,” Watts said. “They blow (usual dorms) out the water. You got your own little room and shared a bathroom with your roommate. The living room space is perfect.”  

However, it is not just incoming freshman moving in.   

Fernando Dominguez is a recent graduate who is now back at UTEP for his master’s in computer engineering. Dominguez has had the chance to serve as a resident assistant at both Miner Canyon and Miner Village since he started at UTEP in 2019.  

Most of the residents at UTEP housing are undergraduate students as the school’s population consists of mostly that demographic. The reason Dominguez decided to stay in the UTEP housing units is simple; convenience.  

“I really like the community here,” Dominguez said. “I like being able to connect and communicate with everyone and I like the school being very close, I don’t have to drive all the way over here.”  

UTEP Housing and Residency will host several events throughout the semester. Those events are posted through the school’s Residency Portal and via UTEP email.  

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela Armendariz is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram 

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor
Emmanuel Rivas is the sports editor for The Prospector and is also a writer for Minero Magazine. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and chicano studies. Although unsure about his future, Emmanuel plans to move back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to work in journalism, media, communication or public relations.
Joel Molina, Photographer
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a staff photographer who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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