This year’s Aggies in Paradise fundraiser moved off campus amid COVID-19 concerns. (Photo: NM State)
LAS CRUCES – Facing a certain budget hit in Fiscal Year 2021, New Mexico State athletics has been forced to re-imagine its annual fundraising events.
Rather than hold events on campus, NM State has partnered with restaurants with patio seating for recent fund raising events.
“Life goes on, but to the extent that we are allowed to, and for us as an administration, we still need to try to make money,” NM State athletics director Mario Moccia said.
New Mexico State held a dinner and reception at Lescombes Winery and Bistro to unveil its new wine, and it will hold this year’s Aggies in Paradise Amador Live on S. Main Street on Saturday.
The athletic department initially looked to host the event on campus, but the reality is restaurants are more familiar with current COVID-19 safe practices as allowed by state and local authorities.
“With no football games this fall, athletics does not have as many revenue streams right now and it’s important for their operations,” NM State spokesman Justin Bannister said. “Restaurants do the leg work and make sure everyone is following the rules.”
Aggies in Paradise moved its silent auction online. Last year’s event hosted 550 people and raised $70,000. This year’s attendance will be cut in half, Moccia said.
With no guarantee football games, a state cut and a likely university cut, NM State athletics will face a deficit of at least $500,000.
“We will operate and remain compliant, but at least we are able to raise some money,” Moccia said.