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Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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Texas Western Gold Rush

Gianluca Cuevas
UTEP hosted the 2023-2024 Texas Western Gold Rush Aug. 28, at Centennial Plaza. This included performances from cheerleaders, UTEP staff, band, and round two of the Battle of the Bands which featured artists such as Interlude, Jett Black, and Sultanes Del Yonke.
The third Texas Western Gold Rush took place on Monday, August 28 at Centennial Plaza. Hundreds of UTEP students joined to together to celebrate the start of the new semester with fireworks, performances and more.

The dust settles, the lights fade out, but only the miner spirit remains. Texas Western Gold Rush (TWGR) has kicked off Miner Welcome, UTEP’s yearly traditions to involve students into the blue and orange university. Most importantly, it is the first connection for the new student body. Prior to the event, admissions and orientation are linear processes, designed to set up classes and schedule, but Texas Western Gold Rush is usually hosted by the end of the first day. Any new student could go through their first day preparing for their semester, but Gold Rush reminds them that there is always more than meets the eye. 

A relatively young tradition compared to the 30-year-old Minerpalooza, it was designed to further the involvement of the students, creating a kick-off celebration that would showcase the collaboration among different departments and connect with the upcoming generation. TWGR is a combined effort between the Dean of Students, and the Student Engagement & Leadership Center, setting up the event and staffing it with their staff as volunteers. Other organizations such as the Student Government Association (SGA) also take part, as representatives of the students’ ambitions.  

The event started with a quick video setting up the fireworks display, showing UTEP’s mascot, Paydirt Pete setting up the explosives for the celebration. Accompanied by UTEP President Heather Wilson, they opened the ceremony.  

Once the fireworks settled, Alexander Rodriguez, president of SGA had the opportunity to give a speech on stage about getting involved.  

“It is your opportunity to socialize and get to know new people,” Rodriguez added, “A lot of students, even local to the city know only a few people coming in, these types of events are important to meet new students and incorporate into the university.” 

When asked about the role of SGA in the miner welcome, he stated they have been involved since day one. Tabling at every orientation as well as collaboration in these events are vital for student government and their role for the students.   

“It is an incredible honor not just to be the voice of the students, but to be the have been elected to this position has opened a lot of opportunities,” Rodriguez continued, “We have exciting changes to homecoming and other surprises this year; we want everyone involved.” 

Rodriguez did not reveal any further details, but more new experiences seemed to be on the horizon for the future students at UTEP.  

UTEP Cheer, and Dance team also collaborated and brought their Miner spirit on stage, with the Dance team showcasing their recent championship and winning choreography.  

Three bands had been selected in the past months to compete in the Battle of the Bands, the big event of the night. These are local talents making a name for themselves, with a few of them even being alumni or current students at the university.  

When asked about the experience of participating and playing in the event, both Interlude and Yonkes del Norte were thrilled to showcase their talents.  

“This is the biggest event we have attended, and we hopefully continue to grow as a band,” Mark Serros from Interlude said. “It is great to see the reactions of the crowd and how our music resonates with this audience.” 

Mark created the band with his friend, Zachary Armendariz, back in December and this is their first big event.  

“We hope this can launch us further into bigger events and help us created better music, we are an alternative band and play exclusively original music,” Mark said.  

A returning group, Yonkes del Norte comes back to redeem their previous loss. Another contemporary group composed of lifetime friends, they have been playing music for the past three years and placed third on last year’s TWGR. 

“We are here to win back the title, and to have a great time,” Natalia Sanchez, member of the Yonkes said. 

Yonkes del Norte has found good success throughout the city, and moderate success statewide, playing in festivals from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Austin, Texas. 

“Our music is a mix of Corrido and pop; it really resonates with audiences, and we love playing it,” Natalia said, with band member Miguel Delgado adding. “It is a Yonke (a scrapyard) of music, we play everything we come up with.” 

There will not be a better time to get involved in the university. UTEP begins its new year with its miner welcome program that will continue all the way to Sept. 15 with Minerpalooza.  

Eugenio Cantu is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Eugenio Cantu, Guest Contributor
Eugenio Cantu is currently majoring in digital media production with a minor on film. He is a video game and movie aficionado, he loves writing and aspires to be a novelist.
Alyson Rodriguez, Contributor/Reporter

Alyson Rodriguez is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso, currently majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in leadership studies. She joined The Prospector in the Fall of 2020 as a contributor for the Arts and Culture section and has now written articles for the sports and news section and has done podcast segments as well. After discovering her passion for journalism through The Prospector, Alyson has gone to intern at El Paso Matters, NPR Next Generation Texas Newsroom and now the Texas Standard.

Gianluca Cuevas, Photographer
Gianluca Cuevas is a staff photographer for The Prospector. He is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. He plans to work in the automotive industry designing cars/mechanic in the F1. He also has his small photography business 365elements which he plans to continue to grow.
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