ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sometimes, name changes are mere window dressing or bureaucratese. The U.S. Army, for example, insists on calling its little, collapsible shovel/spade an “entrenching tool.”
That’s not the case, Henry Villegas says, with the UNM athletic department’s Center for Student Success – a tool intended to help Lobo athletes dig their way out of whatever problems they might encounter.
“When I came here about two years ago, we were called athletic academic advisement,” says Villegas, who, by any name, oversees that department. “Now, we’re becoming much more.”
The Lobo Center for Student Success is on the second floor of the old Lockheed Martin building on the northwest corner of César Chávez and University SE. UNM purchased that property for $3.2 million in late 2007, and it now houses the school’s Student Support and Services Center.
The Lobo Center houses three computer rooms with 70 computers, a lounge, a welcome desk, tutoring rooms, conference rooms and offices.
Standing across the street from the Pit, catty-corner from University Stadium and just a block north of the athletic-department offices and the L.F. “Tow” Diehm Athletic Facility, the center is conveniently located. It allows the school’s athletes, who spend so much of their time on the south campus, to avail themselves of services that in the past were only available north of Central Avenue.
But, Villegas says, it’s about far more than convenience. It’s an acknowledgment that there’s far more to college life, and life in general, than academics and sports.
“We have a very active life-skills program, which goes into the development of our student-athletes,” Villegas says. “That involves education in the areas of drugs and alcohol, sexual responsibility, all those other things that traditionally cause student-athletes problems in college.”
UNM also has attempted to meet more individual needs, he says.
“We added a person who works specifically with student-athletes that have documented learning disabilities,” Villegas says. “We also have a clinical psychologist on board. So, it’s becoming more of a total student-athlete development program.
“We’re looking at all facets of the student-athlete experience and just trying to help our student-athletes prepare for life after college.”