The Taos community experiences a day on Klauer Campus
October 28, 2021
Photos by Enrico Trujillo
Top: The chance to look directly at the sun searching for sunspots through a telescope drew folks of all ages. Bottom: The STEM Building buzzed with activity and curiosity.
UNM-Taos’ inaugural Fall Festival & Open House held on Saturday, Oct. 23, set the tone for an exciting and fun future. The backdrop at Klauer Campus was breathtaking high desert views and warm New Mexico sunshine. A perfect autumn day to show Taos all that their community college has to offer.
The event gave prospective students, their families and friends, and the community-at-large a view of our school and its programs free of charge. What better way for someone to see if UNM-Taos is the right fit and for nonstudents to explore what is available to them, too.
“UNM-Taos is the community's access to a wide variety of post-secondary educational options,” stated Chancellor Dr. Mary Gutierrez. “We provide access to critical life skills, high school equivalency, credentials, jobs and job enhancement, and enrichment. We do all of this in addition to providing degrees and transfer to UNM.”
Ceramic pots were glazed and then fired Raku style. Children couldn’t wait for their turn to look at the sun through a telescope. A new, impressive art show hung on the walls of the art building. Curious visitors chatted with Film & Digital Media Arts staff and students about UFOs for a podcast. More curious minds gathered around the 3D printer to find out exactly what it does, how it works, and what interesting careers are associated with its use. The UNM-Taos Library saw many people filter through who were thrilled to learn that the library is open to the public. There were other interesting hands-on demonstrations from the nursing program, printmaking, chemistry, and geology.
And as the word “festival” suggests, music and dancing made for happy eyes and ears. Taos Pueblo's Hail Creek Singers filled the air with the universal heartbeat of Mother Earth through their drums and singing. To the delight and awe of the crowd, Benito Concha performed a dance of the eagle adorned with feathers. As she played acoustic guitar, UNM-Taos' singer-songwriter Bayley Kate (Byers) sang to an impressed crowd. In his signature smooth and inviting style, Brad Hockmeyer of KTAOS 101.9 also provided a live broadcast.
All of that entertainment and discovery can make a person’s stomach grumbly. Local food trucks Nana’s Lumpia, Loteria Paleteria, and Vida Juice Bar were there to help with that.
The following morning, food vendors contacted UNM-Taos Library Director Kathleen Knoth — who coordinated the food truck vending — to thank UNM-Taos for the opportunity. Knoth relayed from one of the emails, "It was a beautiful setup. The music and the dancers were an amazing touch."
Tables lined the walkways through campus, giving visitors a chance to speak with staff and faculty. They learned about everything from the application process, the student services available, and applying for financial aid to becoming aware of the programs UNM-Taos has to offer. Visitors could be heard expressing how surprised they were about the range of courses as kiddos voiced no complaints about the abundance of each station's trick-or-treat candy.
“On Saturday, I was happy to see our guests engaged in conversations and activities with our faculty and staff, experiencing for themselves the discovery and fun of learning at UNM-Taos. We are hoping to see some of these same folks in classes beginning in January,” Dr. Gutierrez said.
Folks were also impressed with the campus, inside and out. People who live in the neighborhood and regularly take their dogs for walks around Klauer Campus said they were glad they were able to go inside the buildings for the first time.
Two young women told Knoth they've been wanting to take some college classes, and now that they've been in the buildings and met some of the professors, they’re ready to sign up.
“Saturday's Fall Festival provided our community with a chance to explore many of the things that UNM-Taos offers without having to enroll in a class to find out,” said Dr. Gutierrez. “We hope that with a wider knowledge of the services provided by UNM-Taos, the community will take advantage of more that UNM-Taos has to offer.”
The Fall Festival & Open House embodied the idea of connecting people to UNM-Taos. It will return next year and, we hope, for many years to come.