The New Mexico State University Family Outreach Programs received a national award from the 2021 Association for Higher Education Parent and Family Professional Programs National Conference. The student-led series, Friday Afternoon Tea, received an award for Excellence in Publication-Digital.

“While we don’t do it for the accolades, it does give us a feeling of affirmation that what we do does make a difference in people’s lives, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of my staff for pouring their hearts into this series,” said Liz Vigil, senior Family Outreach specialist. “This definitely would not be possible without their commitment to showcasing the truth of the Aggie experience, and I’m glad I get to walk with them on this journey.”

Friday Afternoon Tea is a series of blog posts, videos and content produced by student leaders for Aggie families. Created as a project from one orientation leader, the series grew as it shared students’ perspectives on what life is like at NMSU with first-year Aggie families and tips on how they can support students in their life and alleviate anxiety. The series evolved into a casual yet informative platform for all students with content about students’ insider knowledge on topics such as imposter syndrome, getting involved and more.

Friday Afternoon Tea was launched in the CampusESP Portal on the Family Outreach home page and is also accessible via newsletter. Once families register on the site, all the posts are available to read and share with students.  

“I feel really proud of all of our work that we have put into growing our Family Outreach Programs, as we have put a whole lot of hard work into making ourselves known not just within the NMSU community, but nationally,” said Saralee Ramirez, student writer for Friday Afternoon Tea. “It’s such a great feeling to know that I was actually a part of this because as an undergraduate, you don’t really think you would be part of things at the professional level. 

“We talk about ourselves and our struggles, but we also provide other perspectives of what other students might be going through as well because it allows them to see inside what their student might be going through,” Ramirez said. “If we do give advice, we try to be as general as possible in order to reach across our diverse student populations. Most importantly though, we want to make sure that our audience, whoever it is, feels like they are a part of our big Aggie family.”

The Association for Higher Education Parent and Family Programs Professionals holds an annual national conference selecting winners chosen in several different areas based on submissions. Friday Afternoon Tea received an award for Excellence in Publication-Digital for its uniqueness and positive reviews nationwide.

“Being acknowledged nationally is a big deal for all of the students involved because it feels like all of our hard work and everything we have typed, said or did made a difference somewhere in the world,” Ramirez said.

“It shows us this is extremely valuable so we are excited to keep it going and expand it,” Vigil said.

Vigil plans on launching more mini-series within Friday Afternoon Tea that provide students and their families with more specialized content in a variety of areas.

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