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ACES students get 'branded,' starting a new tradition

More than 150 freshmen from New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences gathered Oct. 15 with the faculty and staff outside of Gerald Thomas Hall to celebrate the end of their freshmen orientation course, AXED 111, and their integration into the college.


Woman shows symbol on T-shirt.
Tori Mitchell, freshman in New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, gets paint-branded during the first ceremony celebrated for students graduating from their freshmen orientation course and integrating into ACES college. (NMSU photo by Angela Simental)

Students were separated by department and each received a T-shirt that was paint-branded with the ACES brand, which represents early-day student Sam Steel, who was murdered in 1893 and would have been the college's first graduate. They were also given a token from their respective department head.

"We have a Sam Steel ceremony every year for those that graduate, but we like it to be a beginning and end of coming through our college," said Katie Dunn, program coordinator of recruitment. "It is a big deal to come in as a freshman and we should treat it as such. Attending and staying in college is a big accomplishment."

Dunn added that this event is the first of its kind at the college, and they plan to make it an annual ceremony.

Students had the chance to sit and talk with the department heads and examine their options as they choose majors and courses to take.

"A lot of our freshmen are not aware of the different majors, and this course helps them explore and find out exactly where they want to go," said Frank Hodnett, professor and department head of Agricultural and Extension Education.

The course also teaches freshmen students about NMSU and land-grant universities' history, resources available at NMSU, clubs and organizations, as well as how to make and follow a degree plan.

"I learned a lot, and I have made great friends," said Aikiko Herrera, Animal Science student. "This is event is awesome, and I'm looking forward to achieving my academic goals."

Before students left for their next class, they stopped to thank Hodnett and turn in last-minute assignments.

"The main point is to bring together our students with the faculty and we are a big family, so we want the freshmen to feel like they belong," Hodnett said.