UTEP Movie Series Ready for its Sequel

By Daniel Perez

UTEP News Service

The young and the young at heart are invited to relive a part of their youth and witness the transformation of The University of Texas at El Paso’s campus during the 2nd annual Movies on the Lawn series that begins in June.

Event organizers expect about 200 members of the Miner Nation and the El Paso community to gather at 8:30 p.m. (depending on sunset) Thursday evenings on the Geology Lawn for eight family-friendly movies, starting June 7. The series kicks off with Disney’s The Lion King.The second annual Movies on the Lawn starts June 7. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News ServiceThe second annual Movies on the Lawn starts June 7. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News Service

The free event drew an average crowd of about 150 people last year, but organizers are confident that this year’s lineup and positive word-of-mouth will increase attendance.

As the series progresses, patrons will notice a variety of construction projects around campus, such as the assembly of a small Bhutanese cultural center, called a lhakhang, on the north end of the lawn.

Other projects include some work on Hawthorne Street from University Avenue to Rim Road, part of an initiative to make the inner campus safer and more pedestrian-friendly.

“This is a great activity because it draws people to our campus and gives them a chance to watch a great movie and experience the physical changes to the University,” said Erika M. Anchondo, events services coordinator. “It’s good to see faculty, staff and students here with their families, as well as people from the community, some who are here for the first time. It’s a time to relax and enjoy the campus.”

There will be some changes from last year’s event for safety and to enhance the experience. The 16-foot by 9-foot inflatable screen will be located near the Geological Sciences Building, closer to University Avenue and further away from a construction project on the upper northwest part of the lawn. Seating will be divided so those who want to sit on the ground will be closer while those with lawn chairs can sit further away from the screen.

This was an accommodation made after getting feedback from patrons last year, Anchondo said. Refreshments can be purchased at Sodexo’s Pete on Wheels cart on the street near the screen, and porta-potties will be located across the lawn on Hawthorne Street.

Jazz Masoud, a junior special education major, said he attended three of the movies with friends during the 2011 series and enjoyed every one, even when it rained toward the end of Toy Story.

“I thought it was fun to gather and watch these classics. It was like going back in time and revisiting childhood,” he said. “It was an awesome community experience.” 

Cindy Villa, vice president for business affairs, attended the series last year and was surprised to see so many faculty and staff with their families.

“I thought the whole thing was so cool,” she said. “It’s a great University-community experience.”

This year’s lineup starts with The Lion King, and continues with Jumanji (June 14), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (June 21), Nacho Libre (June 28), Up (July 5), The Sandlot (July 12), The Wizard of Oz (July 19), and Back to the Future (July 26). Organizers cautioned that films are subject to change.

The University will present 45-second video trailers before each movie to promote UTEP’s upcoming Centennial Celebration in 2014. Free parking will be available in the Sun Bowl Parking Garage after 7 p.m. on movie nights.

For more information, visit www.utep.edu/union, or call 915-747-5711.