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It's official: South Hall is New Mexico Tech's most generous dorm. According to event initiator Michaela Rempkowski of the Queens women's rugby club, the residents of "South" donated more food and clothing to the NMT sport clubs' Holiday Harvest than any other residential complex, and will soon enjoy a root beer float party compliments of the Department of Physical Recreation. Amongst the angst of finals week last December, Tech students managed to send four SUV-loads of staples to the Puerto Seguro Inc. shelter and the Socorro Storehouse. Following is Ms. Rempkowski's report.

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Michaela Rempkowski staffs the donation table at Fidel Center, along with Tyler Fletcher (left) and Anthony Cortez, both of the men's rugby team. Photos by Dave Wheelock

SOCORRO, N.M. January 24, 2012 – During the fall semester's final meeting of the leadership of New Mexico Tech's 17 sport clubs, attendees wholeheartedly adopted the idea of mounting a food and clothing drive to benefit Socorroans hard hit by misfortune or the dismal economy. Instrumental in organizing and publicizing the event were Natalie Kane (women's soccer), Tyler McCracken (golf), and Lindsay Snyder (women's volleyball).

Throughout finals week, we took turns staffing the collection point at Fidel Center. An added bonus to the event was a dorm competition. The dorm to donate the most food and clothing would receive a welcome back root beer float party. Students in the dorms were encouraged to bring their lightly-used clothing and extra foods while moving out of the dorms for the winter break. Each food item was worth one point. Clothing was rated on a bag size scale; ten points for a small bag, twenty points for a medium bag, and thirty points for a large bag of clothing.

Dorm Donation Breakdown

  • South Hall: 5 Large Bags, 1 Medium Bag, 2 Small Bags, 43 Food items: 233 Points
  • Altamirano: 3 Large Bags, 2 Small Bags, 66 Food items: 156 Points
  • Driscoll: 1 Large, Bag 3 Small Bags, 31 Food items: 91Points
  • President's: 1 Large Bag, 2 Small Bags, 19 Food items: 69 Points
  • Desert Willow: 13 Food items: 13 Points
  • Baca Hall: 0 Points

We received great help during the collection process from Danielle Shipley (women's rugby), Jed Rembold, Robert Johnston, and Ben Cooper (men's volleyball), Jordan Fastle and Rick Cosentino (men's rugby), as well as other Tech sportspeople who found time between assignments and exams. Paydirt newspaper editor Jericho Fields also pitched in.

The folks at Puerto Seguro were surprised and excited to see the amount of donations that New Mexico Tech's sports clubs were able to collect. Duane Baker, executive director, was bountiful in his praise.

"It's always a lot of fun to work with students,” he said. “They are my favorite groups to work with because they are so interested in what we do. A lot of them have never seen what it means to be homeless, and it's an eye opener."

Baker stressed the crucial nature of the Tech contribution this year.

"On top of our usual holiday commitments, we had to give out a lot of food to storm-stranded people,” Baker said. “That food the students brought was important. What a blessing. Such a welcome, welcome gift to the shelter."

Baker invited everyone involved to visit Puerto Seguro on South California Street, and have lunch compliments of the staff.

"I wish I could thank every one of them individually," he said.

Despite the stresses of finals week and the excitement of the upcoming Holidays, students, faculty, staff, and members of the community took the time out to lend a helping hand. Whether it was a matter of cleaning out their closets or going to the store to get some cans, it seemed as though everyone was more than willing to reach out and make someone else’s Holiday.

The members of the sports clubs at Tech would like to thank everyone who put forth an effort to help out during the 2011 holiday season. Even the smallest donations helped to make this winter a little bit warmer. The sports clubs hope to continue giving back to the community this semester, so keep your eyes open for more opportunities to contribute! 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

-Leo Buscaglia

– NMT –

By Michaela Rempowski/New Mexico Tech