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NMSU Symposium looks at quality of life in Dona Ana County

The 8th Annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium promises another opportunity for members of New Mexico State University and surrounding communities to address issues that are important to this region. This year, the two-day event aims to engage community members in establishing a shared understanding of what quality of life means for southern New Mexicans.



The 8th Annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium will focus on the quality of life for residents living in Southern New Mexico. 'Quality of Life as Social Justice' begins from 12:30-5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at the Court Youth Center in Las Cruces and continues from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, March 26, at the Corbett Center Student Union. (Courtesy photo)

"Quality of Life as Social Justice" runs from 12:30-5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at the Court Youth Center in Las Cruces and continues from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, March 26, at the Corbett Center Student Union on the NMSU campus.

"With more than 25 percent of Dona Ana County residents living below the poverty level, and nearly 20 percent living in the colonias, quality of life issues are intrinsically linked to social justice in our region," said symposium co-chair and Doņa Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett. "We are inviting members of our community to work together to explore what 'quality of life' means in Southern New Mexico, and how we can build on that understanding to provide more opportunities for all community members."

Symposium participants will discuss quality of life issues in some of the most critical segments of the community: education, housing and community development, work and economic activity, family and community life, public safety and recreation and cultural activity.

Day one of the conference will focus on local problems and economic hardships using statistics and mapping. Doņa Ana County residents will also have the opportunity to share their experiences and challenges.

On the second day, organizers plan to identify strategies for the challenges. These strategies are designed to promote resilience and address vulnerabilities. This will include an examination of the ways in which NMSU faculty, students and staff can collaborate with each other and with the community to improve the quality of life of the citizens of this region.

Organizers also aim to strengthen information sharing among community members and community agencies to improve access to services and resources.

The J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium began in honor of Taylor's commitments to the health and well-being of New Mexicans.

"It is the perfect expression of the land-grant mission of the university and of the interests of many at NMSU in partnering for social change," said Lisa Bond-Maupin, the associate dean for planning and academic resources in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The symposium devotes each year to an issue of concern to the state and region. The overarching goal of the symposium is to further increase the relevance of NMSU in the larger community and the state by providing opportunities to share information, learn from one another and develop strategies.

The symposium, including meals, is free and open to the public. To register for the event visit the J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium website at http://jpts.nmsu.edu. The deadline for registration is March 16.

The symposium is sponsored by the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences, the Kellogg Foundation, Doņa Ana County and J. Paul Taylor. The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico is serving as fiscal agent and symposium partner.

For more information contact Monica Torres at 575-646-2319 or mftorres@nmsu.edu or Lois Stanford at 575-646-6092 or lstanfor@nmsu.edu.