In the Fall of 2017, first-year students at New Mexico State University will be required to live on campus. The move to a first-year residency requirement is part of a more comprehensive effort to improve retention at NMSU and is motivated by research demonstrating that students who live on campus in their first year are better connected to a university community, more likely to attend class, and more likely to graduate.
Accompanying this requirement is a concerted effort on the part of our Housing and Residential Life staff members, led by Director Matt Crouse, to develop a First-Year Residential Experience (FYRE) that will encourage self-discovery and a thirst for learning. The number of Living Learning Communities (LLCs) in the residence halls will be expanded, there will be a greater emphasis on outreach to students by the residential staff, and there will be more leadership development activities for students in the form of residence governance opportunities.
Improving connections with faculty members is a key objective of the FYRE program and this will be achieved through socials and events with faculty members, known as FYREstarters, who will be affiliated with a residential unit. For faculty members interested in participating in this program, or in developing living and learning communities, I encourage you to contact Greg Block, Associate Director for the Residence Life – Residence Halls directly (firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-3202). To find out more, you can also visit https://housing.nmsu.edu/FYRE/
Although the move to on-campus living is driven by evidence that first-year students benefit from such a program, exemptions from the first-year residency requirement will be available to a variety of students, including those living with their parents, legal guardians, or immediate family members (aunt, uncle or grandparents); students living with a spouse/domestic partner or dependent children; students who are 21 years of age or older; and, students who are veterans or on active military duty. For a more complete list of exemptions, go to the First-Year Residential Experience website at https://housing.nmsu.edu/exemptions/
I encourage all faculty and staff to become acquainted with the First-Year Residential Experience and become involved with the program to the extent that your time and interests allow. It promises to be a richly rewarding experience for all participants.
With all best wishes,