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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU’s Gregory Block serves students, faculty and staff

Date: 02/01/2016

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Gregory Block, associate director of housing and auxiliary services at New Mexico State University and chair of the Employee Council, speaks during the annual Employee Appreciation Picnic, which brought in about 2,200 people this past October.

By Ada Ciuca

What does it take to provide quality housing for the nearly 3,600 students New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus hosts?

According to Gregory Block, associate director of housing and auxiliary services and an NMSU community member for the past 24 years, a lot of planning and coordination is involved when it comes to building maintenance across the campus. Each year, the goal is to update at least one aspect of each building, such as updating the furniture or carpet, and make sure buildings keep up with the demands of students.

“Probably some of our biggest accomplishments in the last eight or 10 years – we’ve replaced every piece of student furniture and we’ve developed plans to get into each building paint-wise, mattress-wise, window blinds, carpet, etc.,” Block said.

Working with the facilities aspects of housing for the past 12 years, Block has lived through major changes in housing development at NMSU. He has been with the university long enough to watch the former Alumni Avenue residence hall being turned into Chamisa I and II, built eight and four years ago, respectively. Discussing the university’s landscape, he remembers Pinon being built in lieu of a parking lot nine years ago and Garcia being renovated 15 years ago.

“The campus has changed in the last 25 to 30 years from being mostly residence halls and some family housing to being residence halls, apartments and family housing,” said Block.

With 96 to 98 percent of students having to share a bedroom and 70 to 75 percent having to share a bathroom for the first time, students quickly become attracted to the thought of on-campus apartments, a need that NMSU has satisfied with Chamisa, Vista del Monte and Cervantes Village.

“Some of our goals are listening to today’s student, observing today’s student, trying to predict where tomorrow’s student is going to be and then trying to provide things in our housing that would allow students to meet their life needs,” said Block, citing more electrical outlets for charging electronics, rolling furniture and a wider range of Wi-Fi connections as on-campus examples of current student requests.

“Our challenge will always be keeping the buildings relevant,” he said.

Before tackling facilities, Block spent his first 13 years with housing on the student side of things, working with programming and training for student leadership. During that time, he helped create today’s strong Residence Hall Association, the governing body for the residence hall system.

“For those years, we became a pretty dominant school housing-wise on the student side of things within our region and nationally,” Block said.

To round off his involvement with all areas of campus, Block also holds the position of chair of the Employee Council. Employee Council is a group that represents employees, staff and faculty to the President’s Office and administration, serving as an information carrier to all parties involved.

As chair, he was involved with setting up the annual Employee Appreciation Picnic, which brought in about 2,200 people this past October. The council also hosts open forums featuring various departments and issues that NMSU employees should be aware of. Topics such as employee satisfaction, the new athletic director’s vision for the athletics department, yearly budget discussions and legislative priorities at NMSU have all been tackled by previous forums, with the hopes of bringing information out information directly from the sources.

“The goal of this is to bring people together, get people talking, have administrators out there and bring employees and the administration together,” said Block, currently serving the second year of his term.

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