One of the rewards of serving as University of Houston-Downtown President is the opportunity to address different organizations and communities in the Greater Houston area. During these speaking engagements, I learn more about our stakeholders in the region. In turn, I am able to share the University’s story and enlighten others about UHD’s role in the region.
I recently had the honor of addressing community members in nearby Wharton County during a dedication ceremony for Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez Memorial Highway. If you are unaware of Master Sgt. Benavidez, he earned the National Medal of Honor for his acts of valor during the Vietnam War. And this week, I also addressed the Rotary Club of Houston, an organization with the motto “Service above self.”
At events such as these, I am reminded of the many Gators who are committed to serving others and who participate in civic engagement activities. Given that April is National Volunteer Month, this edition of the One Main Message will spotlight the recent international service learning project led by UHD’s Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL). I also will address University Employment Services & Operations (ESO) efforts to recognize staff members who are engaged in volunteer activities or community service.
Community Engagement in Ecuador
During Spring Break, 13 Gators ventured to Ecuador with CCESL. While visiting the city of Quito, they volunteered at a community center and painted a school’s outer walls. Students also worked with teen mothers and their children. Additionally, our Gators supported a reforestation project by bagging and carrying soil into the forest to plant cacao trees. I commend these students for their hard work over the break and for demonstrating the global impact of UHD’s Gators.
ESO Volunteer Service Recognition
During the 2019 Staff Awards Ceremony, ESO will recognize those who participate in volunteer service—either on campus or across the broader community. Staff members are encouraged to share details on their volunteerism and community engagement activities here. I know many employees are active throughout Houston, helping others or participating in city beautification projects. Others may contribute their energies to supporting University initiatives such as volunteering at the recent Open House event or mentoring our students. These important activities are certainly worth noting, so take time to share your volunteer service experiences with ESO. I look forward to learning more about the volunteerism of our employees and personally thanking you for your service at this summer’s Staff Awards Ceremony.