By Kevin Wilson
Whether he’s lining up for a sprint or getting ready to work on Eastern New Mexico University’s budget matters, Diego Espinoza knows the importance of being prepared.
That’s why the senior from Moriarty was recommended for — and eventually nomiated as — ENMU’s new student regent.
Espinoza is the founder of ENMU’s Lambda Theta Phi fraternity for Latino students. However, he wants to be a student regent that appeals to many groups.
“I started the fraternity because I felt the voice of Latinos on campus wasn’t completely represented,” Espinoza said. “I feel like we’re making small steps to make that happen. But I’m not just going to push for a Latin agenda. I’m going to talk to everybody.
“I’m an athlete, so I can relate with the athletes and what the athletic department needs. I can relate with Latinos, I can relate with transfer students. My background has been so diverse that I feel like I could relate with everybody.”
Espinoza, who is also a sprinter for the Greyhound track team, had created quite a resume since transferring from the University of New Mexico last year. Multicultural Affairs Director Diana Cordova, who serves as Espinoza’s advisor, felt he would be up to the task.
“The first time I met him, he had this dream to start a fraternity on campus. He followed all of the steps,” Cordova said. “It’s not easy to follow through, and he followed through on everything. I was impressed with that.”
Espinoza and Pauline Ponce, another newly appointed regent, will sit in on Wednesday’s meeting in Santa Fe. Their predecessors, Blaine Hess and Tracy Henderson, will remain on the board until appointments are confirmed.
It’s an opportunity Espinoza felt he couldn’t pass up.
“The only thing I’ve ever known in my life is sports,” Espinoza said. “I recently started getting more involved in the political side of things. Since I’m getting into education, I wanted to open my eye to a different end of it.”
When Espinoza and Ponce come in, ENMU President Steven Gamble said they’ll be tackling many issues, including budgets, retention and building initiatives (including the upcoming communications center and science building).
Gamble is sure that Espinoza will make a smooth transition.
“During my interview with him, he came very well-prepared,” Gamble said. “I’m sure he’ll represent the students well.”
Espinoza, a physical education major with a minor in Spanish, plans to stay at ENMU after graduation to work on a master’s in exercise science.