Faculty and staff members at the University of North Texas, like Valerie Martinez-Ebers, spend countless hours helping students succeed in and out of the classroom. And during the annual We Care We Count faculty and staff giving campaign, many take their commitment one step further by making a gift to support scholarships and programs. Before the 2014 campaign kicked off April 1, UNT President Neal Smatresk announced that he would match all eligible gifts, up to $5,000 per person, to any area on campus, allowing faculty and staff to double the impact of their gifts. The goal for this year's We Care We Count is $250,000, topping last year's total.
Here, faculty and staff members from across the campus explain why they are passionate about supporting We Care We Count.
Valerie Martinez-Ebers, UNT political science professor, has a long history with the university — not only is she a longtime faculty member and alumna, but her mother and brothers are also alumni. The political science department supports a thriving Moot Court team, houses the No. 1 political science journal in the world and has produced many successful alumni, all of which brings Martinez-Ebers pride. But her top reason for giving back is UNT’s students.
“I really like UNT because of the mix of students we have — it’s so diverse,” she says. “As a faculty or staff member, you get to meet the students in the programs you support, and they’re all fantastic.”
Billy Roussel has been involved with UNT’s Housing system since he first lived on campus as a freshman in 1997. Since then he has worked as a resident assistant, then a hall director and, eventually, his current position as building services coordinator and adjunct faculty member. Roussel says he gives back to his alma mater and employer because he appreciates the breath of fresh air each semester brings.
“Every year we have a new crop of 4,000 to 5,000 young students who are seeing freedom for the first time, and they bring this energy that reinvigorates you,” he says. “The more support we give as faculty and staff, the better UNT gets for them and for us.”
For Cheylon Brown, director of the UNT Multicultural Center and a UNT alumna, giving during We Care We Count is a way to help the students she works with on a daily basis get the scholarship support they need to succeed. She says that focus on students is one of the UNT faculty and staff’s greatest attributes.
“If you’re struggling with something, UNT has someone who cares about you enough to want you to be successful. It is the unselfish side of our UNT faculty and staff. We’re here to serve our students—that’s what UNT has always been about,” she says. “And when we all come together during We Care We Count, we can accomplish so much more.”