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¿Que Pasa? September 2008

Teachers Learn the ABCs of Teaching

Sept. 30, 2008

Three hundred novice teachers from throughout El Paso convened at the College of Education’s fourth annual “A Better Beginning” Conference on Sept. 27 to polish their classroom skills and learn some valuable teaching pointers from veteran educators.
Candelario Barragan

Photo by Laura Trejo

Candelario Barragan inspired teachers
during the "A Better Beginning"

Teachers from school districts throughout El Paso County participated in interactive workshops led by educators from UTEP, and peers from the El Paso, Ysleta, Socorro and Tornillo independent school districts.

Teachers were introduced to new teaching techniques in a variety of areas to include classroom management; the integration of Internet resources into the curriculum; and the use of comics and graphic novels in the classroom.

The El Paso Zoo’s Jose Rodriguez showed participants how to incorporate zoo education into their lesson plans during his session, “Those Little Animals: Conservation Education in a Global Economy.”

One of the conference’s highlights was the presentation by keynote speaker Candelario Barragan, who earned the 2007-08 Milken Family Foundation’s National Education Award. His students have achieved a 98 percent passing rate on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

The math and AP Calculus teacher at El Dorado High School uses humor and high-energy antics to grab his students' attention and help them reach their academic goals.

Participants received a free copy of “Teaching Outside the Box: Grabbing Your Students by Their Brains,” by LuAnne Johnson courtesy of the El Paso Area Teachers Federal Credit Union.

The conference was sponsored by Project STEP-UP and State Farm Insurance Companies.

- Laura L. Acosta

Miners Pummel Knights

Sept. 29, 2008


Photos by J.R. Hernandez

UTEP crushed the University of Central Florida, 58-13, breaking a losing streak of nine games—including its first three this season—and setting the Orange fever ablaze once more.

The team not only beat the reigning Conference USA champions, but the 45-point win marked the second-largest margin of victory in a conference game.

During Monday’s Media Luncheon Head Coach Mike Price said he was proud of the team. He was also happy to see the players, the fans and Athletic Director Bob Stull show off their smiles.

But the most impressive play was Jose Martinez’s 64-yard field goal at the end of the first half. His kick is the second-longest without a tee in NCAA history. The record 65-yard field goal was made by Kansas State’s Martin Gramatica against Northern Illinois in 1998.

“We acted like we won the Super Bowl at halftime,” Price said. “(Martinez) was thrilled to death when he made that (field goal) and he'll make more like that.”

He said the defense is doing well, but he’s concerned about the team’s scoring average and will work to improve it. Price said after reviewing the game tapes against UCF, he also discovered another concern.

"My biggest concern with the game after watching it on television is me. I'm so big!” Price joked during Monday’s luncheon. “God I have to lose some weight. Holy smokes Price, get off the Mexican food will you? Man!”

The Miners will next face off against Southern Mississippi at 5 p.m. (MST) Saturday, Oct. 4, in Hattiesburg. The game can be heard on KOFX 92.3 FM.

Information: http://utepathletics.cstv.com/

Click here to view the photo gallery...

– Laura Cruz Acosta

State of the University

Sept. 29, 2008

UTEP Convocation 2008

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

Associate Professor of Chemistry James Becvar, Ph.D., has been named Piper Professor of
2008 for outstanding scholarly and academic achievement.

UTEP President Diana Natalicio highlighted the university’s many successes – and future challenges – during Fall Convocation last week.

“From every vantage point, UTEP seems to be gaining momentum, moving faster, accelerating the pace at which we are setting—and achieving—ever more ambitious goals,” she said during her State of the University remarks.

The convocation also marked an opportunity to recognize faculty and staff for their years of service to the university.

– Kimberly Miller

UTEP Helps National Guard with Hurricane Ike Aftermath

Sept. 23, 2008

UTEP Regional Geospatial Center

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

Abdiel Quezada, a GIS programmer and developer at UTEP, traveled to Galveston with
specialized equipment to help the Texas National Guard create data and maps of the
hurricane-battered communities.

The University of Texas at El Paso Regional Geospatial Center (GIS) is working with emergency responders and the Texas National Guard to provide specialized up-to-date maps and data for hurricane-ravaged Galveston County.

“They lost everything, so we sent personnel and equipment to help create data and maps with the location of hospitals and distribution points for food and water,” Raed Al Douri, Ph.D., GIS director, said. “We’ve helped communities before over the Internet, but this is the first time we were on the field after a major hurricane.”

Regional Geospatial Center Image

The UTEP Regional Geospatial Center produced maps
like the one above of the Texas Gulf Coast detailing the
damage Hurricane Ike left behind. Click here to view
a larger image.

Abdiel Quezada, a GIS programmer and developer at UTEP, recently traveled to Galveston with some of the GIS technology to support the guardsmen.

The center was established in 2005 through a $1.9 million federal award. The center received $800,000 in additional funding from a Department of Defense appropriation for 2007. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was instrumental in securing the continued funding for the center.

The GIS center produces maps and geographic information system databases that detail roads and highways, electrical grids and water supplies, and other information useful for emergency planning and management.

The center collaborates with Stephen F. Austin State University and the Texas Natural Resource Information System to demonstrate and provide backup planning in the event of catastrophic system failure.

“We can send our personnel and technologies anywhere that help is needed when any disaster happens,” Al Douri said. “Galveston was very happy to have us because there was little they could do without maps and data.”

The GIS center also is involved in the development of geospatial applications to support UTEP research and service activities in a variety of areas including border security, economic development and public health.

Information: http://gis.utep.edu/

UTEP Photo Contest Winners Announced

Sept. 22, 2008

UTEP photo contest exhibit

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

UTEP President Diana Natalicio, center, walked through the Centennial Museum looking at the
more than 400 photo submissions for the university's photography contest.

Francisco Ortega's winning image.
Francisco Ortega's image (above) won
first place in the camera category
Francisco Ortega and Lani Alcazar were recently named the winners of UTEP’s “Give Us Your Best Shot” photography contest.

Ortega, a college of business student, received first place in the camera category for his picture of the walkway in front of the library. Alcazar, a biological sciences research assistant, received first place in the cell phone category for her picture of the Undergraduate Learning Center.

Other top honorees included recent graduate Julian Mapp and student Gina Kearly in the camera category and staff member Evangelisto Perea, Jr. in the cell phone category.

Students, faculty and staff submitted more than 475 pictures that illustrated their views of UTEP’s campus. The pictures were judged by a team of local art and photography experts.

More than 125 of the images will be on display through Friday, Oct. 31, at the Centennial Museum and the Union Gallery.

Scholarships Smooth Transition to UTEP

Sept. 22, 2008

EPCC Transfer Scholarship

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

UTEP President Diana Natalicio (left center), Stephen Wolslager, of the Wolslager
Foundation, and EPCC President Richard Rhodes (far right) recently recognized Daniel
Garcia (far left) and 70 other UTEP students as El Paso Community College Transfer

Daniel Garcia’s goal is to graduate from UTEP in 2010, the same year his 16-year-old son Jacob graduates from Riverside High School.

But the education major’s aspiration were overshadowed by the guilt he felt over paying for his college education instead of saving money for Jacob’s.

“To be honest I was kind of worried. I’m 47 and I’m thinking it’s selfish of me to go to school while my son is going to be starting school soon,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s saving grace was a $5,000 scholarship he received this year from the Wolslager Foundation to help pay for his studies at UTEP.

“It’s a tremendous relief to know that I can save money to help my son in two years”, he said.

Garcia is one of 70 Miners who are recipients of the El Paso Community College Transfer Scholarship, which helps students bridge the financial gap when they transfer from EPCC to UTEP.

Since 1997, the program has helped 278 students continue their studies at the university and has awarded more than $1.6 million in scholarships. Degrees have been given to 174 scholarship recipients, most with around a 3.5 GPA.

“The best measure of a program’s success is the quality of its graduates and there are many successful recipients of this program to celebrate,” UTEP President Diana Natalicio said.

A retired firefighter, Garcia received his associate’s degree in liberal arts from EPCC in June and was graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

Now finishing his fourth week at UTEP, Garcia’s new challenge is the Internet, but he’s working to improve his computer skills. He hopes to become a special education teacher and serve as a role model to his students and his son.

“I have a motto and that is ‘don’t quit’,” he said.

Information: 915-747-5478

- Laura L. Acosta

Students and Alumni Connect at Career Expo

Sept. 22, 2008

Career Expo 2008

Photos by J.R. Hernandez

Hundreds of sharply dressed job seekers with resumes in hand packed the Don Haskins Center during Career Expo 2008.

More than 150 employers were looking to recruit students for permanent positions, co-ops and internships. UTEP alumni currently working for companies such as Merck, Texas Instruments, and Lockheed Martin, represented their employers while hoping to connect with current UTEP students.
Career Expo 2008

“What a great way to make a connection. UTEP alumni have an opportunity to share some of their knowledge and insight with a current student,” Betsy Castro-Duarte, associate director of University Career Services, said. “They can say to students, ‘Now is the time to apply for that internship. Let’s get you in there and let me be your advocate.’”

Valerie Estrada, an electrical engineering major, visited with Texas Instruments hoping to apply for a summer internship. The UTEP junior met with UTEP alumni Freddie Chavez, an automation engineer, and Al Griffin, a TI Fellow. The duo was looking to recruit co-op candidates with a 4.0 GPA who are graduating in 2010.

“It feels great coming back and recruiting some good talent. It’s really difficult to pick and choose,” Chavez said.

Griffin graduated in1984 with a degree in metallurgical engineering and he has been recruiting candidates at the Career Expo off and on for the past six years.

“The expo is amazing,” he said. “It has grown so much from when I was a senior and the career fair used to be at the Union with only 10 booths. It’s amazing to see so many companies. It just blows my mind.”

Valerie Estrada continued her search for an internship and also talked to the U.S. State Department and Shell Oil Company.

“I want to find hands on experience and see what an electrical engineers’ job during the day is like,” she said. I’m going to keep looking around and see what’s available.”

- Laura L. Acosta

Targeting the Hispanic Market

Sept. 19, 2008

Hispanic Advertising Conference

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

Jorge Plasencia, chairman and CEO of Republica, spoke to UTEP students about working in the
advertising and communication industry.

Capturing the attention of the ever-growing Hispanic market was the focus of the 2008 Emerging Faces in Hispanic Advertising Conference at UTEP.

More than 130 advertising professionals, faculty and students attended the event hosted by the UTEP Department of Communication and the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication.

Top industry executives including Luis Miguel Messianu, president and chief creative officer of Alma DDB in Coral Gables, Fla. and Aldo Quevedo, president and chief creative officer of Dieste Harmel & Partners in Dallas shared their insight and expertise with students hoping to break into the advertising business.

“It’s really an honor to have these executives here,” UTEP senior and advertising major Erik Baray said. “You hear about these people in the classroom and read about them online, but it’s a different experience to have them here talking to you face-to-face. It’s surreal.”

Conference organizer Carolyn T. Mitchell said she was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with these nationally-recognized advertising leaders about potential internships for students and research partnerships with the university.

Information: http://hispanicadconference.com/

Men’s Cross Country Ranks Nationally

Sept. 18, 2008

UTEP Cross Country

Photo by Brian Kanof

UTEP’s men’s cross country team was ranked 12th in the nation by a coaches poll released this week.

“It’s good to begin the season ranked high in the national polls,” head coach Paul Ereng said. “We finished 10th last year at the national meet and we’re working on moving up further … in the national rankings this year.”

The ranking came Sept. 16 from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The Miners’ men’s team started the season strong with an unofficial second place finish at the Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque earlier this month and by taking the top three finishes at last weekend’s Lori Fitzgerald Invitational at Santa Teresa last week.

Conference USA cross country coaches unanimously chose the Miners in an August pre-season poll to repeat as conference champs. They have won the honor the past three years. The team also ranks fourth in the Mountain Men Region.


– Daniel E. Perez

UTEP Commemorates El Grito

Sept. 16, 2008

Mexican Consul General Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

Strong El Paso winds carried the passionate rallying cries of Mexican Consul General Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez this week as he led a group of UTEP students who celebrated Mexico’s Independence Day at the Union Plaza Stage.

“¡Viva nuestra independencia! (Long live our independence!)” Rodriguez yelled Sept. 15 as he used both arms to wave the Mexican flag and waited for the audience’s response: ¡Viva!

The event recalls when Rev. Miguel Hidalgo rang the bell of his church and called everyone to fight for Mexico’s liberty on Sept. 16, 1810. The cry of independence, or “El Grito,” began the 10-year war for freedom against Spain.

“El Grito” is repeated every year at 11 p.m. on Sept. 15 in Mexico City from the balcony of the National Palace by the president of Mexico. It is echoed by various leaders throughout the country.

Part of UTEP’s festivities included a Mexican military band and color guard who led participants in singing the Mexican national anthem.

The university event is sponsored by the Consulado General de México en El Paso, the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies, Chicano Studies, the UTEP Student Government Association, the Office of International Programs and the Student Development Center.

– Laura Cruz Acosta

Coach Haskins: Teacher, Motivator, Friend

Sept. 12, 2008

Haskins Memorial

Photos by Laura Trejo

The Don Haskins Center overflowed with love, laughter, sadness and tears Thursday evening as thousands commemorated The Bear.

More than 5,000 fans, friends and family, to include former UTEP coaches, players and officials attended the three-hour celebration of the life of Hall-of-Fame basketball Coach Don Haskins.

Haskins died Sept. 7. He was 78. It’s hard to say what that is in bear years.

The legendary coach was remembered for his generosity, simplicity, and his “wicked, brilliant humor.” There also were references to his tough “are you kidding me?” glare and his “never really mellow” roaring exterior.

Here are some examples of what was said about The Bear:

“Coach Haskins was first and foremost a teacher. He taught his players about basketball … and about life.” —UTEP President Diana Natalicio

“He was the greatest storyteller I’ve ever known.” — Jeff Limberg, longtime area sports anchor

“Right now he's driving around up there in a huge white GMC truck, giving an angel a shot of tequila and roaring on how heaven ain't got nothing on El Paso.” —Jon Teicher, Miner athletics radio announcer, reading a letter from Josh Lucas, who portrayed Haskins in the “Glory Road” movie

“That big rough guy was a teddy bear.” — Irv Brown, a sports radio personality and former NCAA basketball referee

Nolan Richardson

Nolan Richardson

“I’m sure no one will ask how many games he won… They may just ask him how many lives he’s touched.” —former Texas Western College player and national championship basketball coach Nolan Richardson, on when Haskins reaches Heaven

“It was everyone else who lost out on the greatest college experience.” —Dr. Jim “Jimbo” Bowden, an El Paso dentist and former Miner, on believing he was losing out on college life while playing under Haskins

"You didn't play for Coach Haskins. You survived Coach Haskins. He was a master motivator, a master teacher.” —Bowden

"It's not goodbye. It will never be goodbye. Don Haskins will be in our hearts forever.” —Nevil Shed, a member of the 1966 NCAA championship team

To learn more about Haskins and the '66 team, click here.


Farewell, Coach

Sept. 9, 2008

With only the “Glory Road” movie theme song whispering in the background, the Don Haskins Center on Tuesday was as quiet as a slumbering bear.

In the middle of the arena that bears his name lay the legendary Coach Don Haskins, who died Sunday, Sept. 7, at the age of 78. About 5,000 fans, family and friends stopped by the center to pay their respects to the Bear during the open-casket viewing.

Don Haskins
Well-wishers signed condolence guest books before they walked into the center’s cave-like tunnel entrance. There was a reverential quietness as people walked down the orange carpet path that led to the Bear's dark wood casket.

Coach remained at the Haskins Center until 8 p.m. Tuesday. A public memorial service is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the center.

His hands perfectly folded one over the other at his mid-section, Haskins wore a dark suit and a blue and orange tie. Clip on, of course.

A dried flower arrangement that included a blue necktie with diagonal orange stripes stood beside the casket. Yes, it also was the clip-on type Haskins was known to wear for a few minutes before he yanked it off, rolled it up and put it into the pocket of his sports coat.

On the casket itself, another arrangement made of long red, yellow and green chiles, a few with a hint of Miner orange. He always liked that spicy food.

A bright UTEP athletics logo was secured to the inside of his casket, and a six-inch-tall Teddy Bear that wore a UTEP sweater sat at the head of the casket. It seemed to grin slightly at the Papa Bear.

The center was cold and quiet. No Miner Maniacs in sight.

The electronic scoreboards read 72-65, the final score of the 1966 NCAA championship game that forever embedded Haskins and the Texas Western Miners in the record books – make that history books. Giant flat screens played a slideshow that depicted Haskins through the years, smiling, laughing, growling.

Fifteen empty chairs on the Haskins center floor represented a game day arrangement. His was draped in a black cloth. A rolled program lay near the chair, perhaps waiting to be waved at a referee or tossed on the ground following a bad call.

And all around, what wasn’t visible to the eye but certainly to the soul, was the love and respect of a community toward their legend, their coach, their Bear.

– Cindy Ramirez

Visit the 1966 NCAA Champs/Glory Road Web site to learn more about Haskins.
Record Crowd Enjoys Miners-Longhorns

Sept. 9, 2008


Photos by Laura Trejo

The matchup was sweet: UTEP Miners versus the UT Austin Longhorns. Unfortunately, the burnt orange soured the festive atmosphere of the record Sun Bowl Stadium crowd of 53,415.
Trevor Vittatoe

The 10th ranked Longhorns beat the Miners 42-13 on Sept. 6, but as the old saying goes, half the fun was getting there.

Tens of thousands of fans tailgated early and often throughout the campus. In a dramatic show of support, many tailgaters cooked members of Bevo’s extended family and some of his barnyard friends.

The stadium itself was a sea of orange with a few burnt orange blotches here and there. Miner faithful rocked the stadium throughout most of the game. One Miner fan came in a bright orange gorilla suit. Four middle-aged guys with big middles traded their shirts for orange paint and spelled UTEP. It was a Miner pachanga until the fans, along with their team, began to lose steam in the fourth quarter.

Both sides seemed to behave for the most part. University Police officials said there were relatively few incidents that needed their attention. Not that many when you consider the crowd size.

Hasta proximo.

Daniel E. Perez

Legendary Coach Don Haskins Passes Away

Sept. 8, 2008

Don Haskins, one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 7. He was 78.

Don Haskins

File photo

Haskins died at his home, surrounded by friends and family, at 4:30 p.m. MDT. A public memorial is tentatively planned for later in the week, with arrangements pending.

"It is a very sad time for all of us,” UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull said. “Don is an icon of El Paso. He has had a huge impact on the city and the University of Texas at El Paso. Since his retirement, he has remained very interested in our entire athletic program and supportive of all of our coaches. He has been an invaluable resource to everybody in the athletic department. He remains one of the most revered and honored coaches in basketball history. His decision to start five black players in the 1966 national championship game, as chronicled in the movie Glory Road, changed college basketball and the sports world. He will always be remembered for that."

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Mary and the Haskins family,” UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. “We are losing a national treasure. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know him over the last two years. The information he shared with me was invaluable to a first-time head coach. He is a Hall of Fame coach and a Hall of Fame person. It's sad to think that we're losing someone so special to this community and this university, and a national hero at the same time."

Haskins, who was nicknamed “The Bear,” was the head coach at UTEP from 1961-99, leading the Miners to 719 wins, as well as a national title (1966), 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and seven Western Athletic Conference championships.

CBS Sportsline.com named him the greatest Division I men's basketball coach of all time in July, 2001. "UTEP -- with no recruiting base, no media attention and substandard budgets -- had no business winning much of anything," said sports columnist Dan Wetzel. "No coach did more with less, maximized his talent and made strange parts fit better than The Bear."

Haskins, who announced his retirement on Aug. 24, 1999, ranks 19th among all-time Division I men’s basketball head coaches with 719 victories.

He was born on March 14, 1930 in Enid, Okla. He played his college ball at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) from 1949-52, where he was a second team All-Conference selection as a senior. Haskins split time at the guard and forward positions as a collegian, leading Oklahoma A&M to the NCAA semifinals in 1949 and 1951.

Haskins' coaching career began at Benjamin High School in Benjamin, Texas in 1955. He was a teacher and coach of both boys and girls teams at Benjamin High from 1955-56. Haskins also headed the basketball programs at Hedley (Texas) High School from 1956-60 and Dumas (Texas) High School from 1960 -61.

Haskins took over the UTEP program for the 1961-62 season. His first Miner squad notched an 18-6 record. His second UTEP team posted a 19-7 mark during the 1962-63 campaign and made the first of Haskins' 14 NCAA Tournament appearances.

The Miners captured the NCAA title on March 19, 1966, shocking heavily-favored Kentucky, 72-65, for the championship. That year Haskins became the first coach ever to start a lineup of five black players at the major college level. The achievement was documented in the 2006 motion picture Glory Road.

Haskins' teams captured WAC championships in 1970, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1992, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1975, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992.

Haskins has tutored numerous players who have gone on to play in the NBA, including Antonio Davis, Tim Hardaway and Jim Barnes, the first pick by New York in the 1964 NBA Draft.

Haskins’ last Miner team notched a 16-12 record during the 1998-99 season, his 32nd winning season in 38 years as head coach.

Haskins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 29, 1997, and the Jim Thorpe Association Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Aug. 9, 1999 in Oklahoma City.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; three sons – Brent, David and Steve; and three grandsons. A fourth son, Mark, passed away in 1994.

Visit the 1966 NCAA Champs/Glory Road Web site to learn more about Haskins...

UTEP Fans Prepare to Party

Sept. 4, 2008

UTEP football fans

File photo

UTEP officials expect a stampede Saturday as thousands of tailgaters race to fill campus parking spaces in anticipation of the sold-out Miners football game against the UT Austin Longhorns.

Stadium gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and kickoff is expected around two hours later.

Paydirt Pete

File photo

But the important Saturday times to the tailgaters are 8 a.m. – the time they can set up at the outer lots – and noon, when they can fill inner campus parking spaces.

Recreational vehicles with permits can park as early as 6 p.m. Friday in the special lot next to the UTEP parking garage, which will sell game day parking for $10 per space.

“There’s something about (tailgating) on a beautiful El Paso day,” UTEP engineering alum Janelle Armstrong said. “It’s a great atmosphere; really relaxing.”

The principal engineer with Brown and Caldwell, which employs at least six former Miners, expected around 30 co-workers and family members to crowd around her RV Saturday to eat bratwursts, meatballs and chicken quesadillas.

The expected influx of revelers will mean extra dumpsters, more portable toilets and additional security.

“We are prepared to handle safety and security needs for the game this weekend as we would for any of the many large-scale events UTEP hosts,” UTEP Police Chief Cliff Walsh said. “As usual, safety and security needs will be provided by UTEP officers and staff as well as our friends at various local agencies.”

Tailgaters have several places to buy Miner merchandise while they wait for the game. The University Bookstore will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be temporary venues at the Sun Bowl’s north concourse, the corner of Schuster and Hawthorne, on Glory Field (the football practice facility), and near Magoffin Auditorium. The souvenir shop in the stadium’s east concourse also will be open.

The sale of T-shirts, foam fingers, caps and more have been flying of the UTEP Bookstore shelves since the beginning of school. Officials expect merchandise sales to top more that $100,000 by the end of the week.

Click on www.tailgating.utep.edu for tailgating rules and more.

– Daniel E. Perez

Minerpalooza Invades Campus

Sept. 2, 2008

Minerpalooza poster

Part of the UTEP campus will be transformed into El Paso’s pep rally headquarters as the university throws its annual “welcome back” community event that features entertainment, games, food and fun: Minerpalooza 2008.

Festivities will run from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, Sept. 5, and be centered near the intersection of University Avenue and Hawthorne Streets.

The focus of this year’s scorn will be the University of Texas Longhorns football team. So make sure to take a whack at the piñatas shaped like Bevo, the team’s mascot. Make that several whacks.

But don’t spend all your evening hating. Soak in the carnival-like atmosphere. Visit the numerous food booths, ride the mechanical bull, drop the tweens at the Kid’s Zone and participate in some of the inflatable games such as sumo wrestling and jousting.

Minerpalooza 2007 file photo

file photo

UTEP staffer Melanie Thomas taunted and
dared people to dunk her during last year's

“This is our chance to be a kid again,” freshman Michelle Pugh said. The 18-year-old electrical engineering major said she wants to jump in the giant balloons. “This is about fun.”

Minerpalooza VIP tickets still are available for $50. The package includes an appetizer buffet, commemorative T-shirt, wristband that provides access to inflatable games, entry to an air-conditioned tent and a chance to win tickets to Saturday’s game.

The pre-sale of the Fun Packs – which includes T-shirts and wristbands and discounted food and game tickets – continues through Friday, Sept. 5. They range from $20-$50.

UTEP students will get a free wristband, which allows the wearer to unlimited visits to the inflatable games, if they show their Miner Gold Card.

The event is scheduled to have performances by Mantarraya, Cool Sosa, The Royalty, and the Mexican Institute of Sound. The pep rally is scheduled after 7 p.m. and could include short speeches from UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull, head coach Mike Price, and University President Diana Natalicio.

Organizers expect Minerpalooza to draw up to 25,000 people. Free parking will be available at the UTEP parking garage.

A warning to tailgaters: they can start to park on campus parking lots at 8 a.m. for Saturday home game. They have to wait until noon for inner-campus parking slots.

Information: 915-747-5670

– Daniel E. Perez


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