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U.S. Sen. Heinrich attends CAMP enchilada fundraiser for scholarships

The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) in New Mexico State University’s College of Arts and Sciences recently held its 11th-annual fundraiser to create scholarships for its students.


Man standing in a group listening to students
U.S. Senator from New Mexico Martin Heinrich attended a fundraiser at New Mexico State University hosted by CAMP. The fundraiser was to establish scholarships for CAMP students. Heinrich attended to talk with the students and professors, and get their takes on what the program, which is federally funded, means to them. (NMSU photo by Billy Huntsman)

The Sammy Gurulé Fundraiser is named after a CAMP student who was killed in a car accident 11 years ago.

“Through CAMP, he received a full-paid scholarship to NMSU,” said Edwin Gurulé, Sammy’s father. “He was just here a little bit over two months.”

Currently CAMP, which offers guidance to migrant students and the children of migrant students who enroll at NMSU, provides financial assistance only in a student’s freshman year, thanks to a federal grant, which was recently renewed, and are eligible for competitive book stipends, scholarships, and research opportunities through State RPSP funding. The fundraiser is meant to create additional scholarships to ease the financial burden on these students beyond their freshman year.

“The students raised enough money with the help of the Gurulé family to provide two students with $1,000 scholarships for this academic year,” said Cynthia Bejarano, principal investigator of CAMP. “The students sold approximately 280 enchilada plates and raised slightly more than $1,600.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich, one of New Mexico’s two U.S. senators, attended the fundraiser, which was held in Gerald Thomas Hall’s 100 West Café on Nov. 10.

“I wanted to see the CAMP program here where it happens and learn a little bit more about it and figure out how we can be helpful on the federal side,” Heinrich said.

A number of universities in the United States have CAMP programs, but NMSU’s is one of only eight that recently received federal funding from the U.S. Education Agency’s Office of Migrant Education—$2.1 million will allow the program to continue through 2022. Heinrich helped secure funding for the CAMP program and has led efforts in the U.S. Senate to reinstate year-round Pell Grants, which many CAMP students rely on to help pay for college. There are also scholarship endowments at NMSU, which are made possible by private donors.

“The way this funding is structured is that it can only be used on a student’s freshman year,” Heinrich said. “I think if there were an opportunity to use some of that funding for continuity in the sophomore, junior, senior years, that would be really helpful.”

Heinrich said he appreciates CAMP’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

“I think it’s incredibly impressive to see the level of support the CAMP program is able to create for students,” Heinrich said. “I remember how lost I was as a freshman in college, and how much I would have appreciated a couple days of people telling me how to get to the student union or to various parts of campus.”

“We thank the CAMP program from the bottom of our heart that Sammy’s memory is still living on,” said Edwin Gurulé.