WNMU campus to be featured in Amazon Prime show
By Anya Loya, The Deming Headlight I October 13, 2023
The original version of this story misstated the length of the show’s episode. It will appear in the show’s 11th season, rather than the 10th. This update also corrects the spelling of Jillian Bernstein’s name.
Western New Mexico University will be featured on “The College Tour,” an award-winning TV series from Amazon Prime. The Silver City campus will be part of the show’s 11th season and is the first New Mexico college or university to be featured.
The series focuses on a different college or university across the country in each episode. The show also features multiple students, highlighting their experience at their schools. The show’s concept arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, when opportunities to attend in-person campus tours were restricted, on top of financial barriers to travel, according to the show’s host, Alex Boylan.
Filming will take place Nov. 6 through the 10th at the Silver City main campus. The show will follow 10 students from different backgrounds around multiple campus locations. Filming will include content from both the production team and the university, according to Linda Brown, the university’s communication specialist.
The episode will be divided into ten segments, one per student, and each student will get to collaborate on the segment’s script, Brown said.
WNMU students were encouraged to audition for the episode in early September and participants were selected later in the month. Auditions were held online, with students submitting two-minute videos about their experience at WNMU.
“I think the most important thing is that the student has an interesting story to tell about their experience at WNMU,” Brown said, “and second, I think we want stories that resonate with a wide audience. And of course we want to recruit students who have a good on-camera presence.”
Selected students will be able to cover different topics from academics to club activities to dorm life at WNMU, according to Brown.
Oscar Arteaga, an international graduate student from Venezuela, was selected as one of the show’s participants. Arteaga transferred to WNMU in 2022 from Emporia State University in Kansas and will graduate with a master’s in interdisciplinary studies in December.
“This is my last semester and I wanted to share my experience, share what I’ve learned, what it’s like to be an international student and all the services the university offers us,” Arteaga said.
Arteaga works as a graduate assistant at the WNMU Museum, where he talks about the exhibitions and collections as well as other office duties. He is also the treasurer of the International Student Association on campus, an organization created just this fall.
“In our organization, we’re trying to embrace diversity and guide international students and every other student about the resources campus offers,” Arteaga said.
The organization hopes to host a fashion show that will feature international students wearing traditional clothing from each of their countries, Arteaga said.
Arteaga plans to enter a doctoral program at New Mexico State University or find a job within WNMU after graduation.
The show will be another opportunity for the university to “get the word out,” as Brown put it. Being a smaller school, Brown said Western doesn’t have a national platform for marketing WNMU.
“There’s incredible work being done at the university by our students, by our faculty, by our staff,” Brown said. “So it’s just not coming from marketing or the administration, it’s coming from the students.”
Jillian and Stacey Bernstein, a mother and daughter attending WNMU, will also be featured on the show. Gillian is finishing up her master’s in social work and will graduate in December, while Stacey is going through her first semester of college as a biology major.
Both women highlight how much support they give each other on and off campus. Stacey helps her mom take care of her three younger siblings while her mom is at work or school and Gillian supports her daughter closely as she advances in college life.
“I feel like I’ve met my goal of becoming a role model for her, despite all the challenges and hardships that I have faced. So, to kind of come full circle where, you know, when I was a kid in college, I was pregnant, took a break. She’s very successful and that makes me very proud,” Gillian Berstein said.
She added that she’s thankful to be part of her daughter’s college experience and that it’s good for her younger kids to see their older sister thrive in college.
“The College Tour: Mustang Edition,” a 30-minute episode, will air on Amazon Prime and other streaming services in the spring.
Annya Loya can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.