Thursday, May 6, 2010

By Thom Guengerich
New Mexico Tech

The proposal to change the ‘M’ atop Socorro Peak is officially off the table.
Vice President of Research Dr. Van Romero said he was overwhelmed with the response from students to keep the ‘M.’
Students started a Facebook page devoted to preserving the ‘M’ and more than 500 people joined. Dozens of students also sent e-mails protesting the proposal.

“I’m tickled to see that Tech students are engaged in preserving our traditions,” Romero said. “Students made their feelings very clear that they feel that the ‘M’ is an important symbol. My position is that the ‘M’ has served us well for 100 years and we should keep it.”
A two-time Tech graduate, Romero’s office is in charge of maintaining the ‘M’ and organizing the annual “Paint the ‘M’” event during 49’ers. He said he was further impressed with the tone of the students’ comments; the protests were collegial, professional and well-stated.
In the course of dialog, students offered several constructive suggestions for enhancing the image. Those suggestions include adding an ‘N’ and a ‘T’, modernizing the lighting system and improving access.
Romero said he’d like to keep the dialog going among students to gauge the interest and potential improvements. He is organizing a work day to improve the road to the top of the mountain and the parking area and to develop a safer footpath from the parking area to the ‘M.’
“Thanks to the response of students, we’ll have enough volunteers to improve access to the mountain,” Romero said. “Stay tuned on how you can help.”

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