Monday, April 22, 2013

UNC Charlotte partners with Habitat for Humanity

By Jenny Matz

A group of 20 UNC Charlotte students and several staff members displayed the Giving Green spirit in Alabama and Ohio as part of the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge.
Designed to encourage college campuses to visit and work with Habitat affiliates across the country, the challenge is typically an alternative spring break experience for most participants.

Sean Langley, assistant director for volunteer outreach in the Division for Student Affairs, worked with the student volunteers who spent a week in high-need areas. The group divided their efforts between tornado-ravaged Birmingham, Ala., and the economically challenged Portsmouth, Ohio.
In Birmingham, UNC Charlotte students donated their time and muscle to install roof trusses and windows and to rebuild walls. They also spent time painting home exteriors, landscaping and cleaning area homes that had fallen into disrepair.
In reflecting on the experience, Langley said, “The emotional part was thinking about all of the families that lost everything as a result of the tornado. We found solace in helping build a Habitat home and restoring a sense of hope for the community.”
For those volunteers in Portsmouth, they focused on smaller projects with great impact. One of those was the construction and installation of a ramp for a man who was becoming increasingly homebound, resulting in his becoming more depressed due to his restrictions.
Maggie Chahoud, president of the UNC Charlotte Habitat for Humanity student chapter, said the project had an emotional impact on the entire group. “When he used the ramp for the first time, in that moment, we could tell that no matter how small the project, we had made a significant difference in this man’s life.”
Although it has been a few weeks since participating in the project, Chahoud said she and her fellow volunteers were glad they generously gave of their time during spring break.
“My involvement with Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge program has been one of the most meaningful and rewarding things I’ve been involved with at UNC Charlotte,” stated Chahoud. “I cannot wait to spend another week helping others next year.”
Jenny Matz is assistant director of community affairs

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stake Your Claim brand is alive on campus

By John D. Bland

I recently made a presentation at New Employee Orientation, wherein I attempted to imbue new staffers at various levels, divisions and departments with the Stake Your Claim spirit; that is, I was attempting to explain why UNC Charlotte is such a dynamic place and why working here is more than just parking one’s self in a new chair in a new cubicle, office, desk or truck.

The presentation was not my usual gig. I was filling in for a vacationing colleague you delivers a more scintillating and polished indoctrination. A few of the 20-plus attendees seemed thoroughly bored, some appeared attentive to something (not necessarily me) and a few dear souls were rapt. In other words, they comprised a typical audience.

I heard myself repeating something I’ve shared with many, many new hires, prospects, colleagues inside and outside the university, friends and family. I heard myself assert that UNC Charlotte is a fantastic place to work, a place where Stake Your Claim is more than a “brand positioning” motto. 

In my experience, Stake Your Claim defines the culture of UNC Charlotte; it reflects the culture here. That’s why after more than seven years in a – dare I say – grueling and relentless type of work, I still love working at UNC Charlotte. It is the best job I’ve ever had. UNC Charlotte is never dull and – knock on wood – never staid. It is kinetic, challenging, ever-changing and a place full of opportunity.

Read the latest edition of UNC Charlotte magazine edition cover to cover (or at least flip through every page, reading the headlines, subheads and captions). Look at the photos and graphics. I hope you see what I see – the Stake Your Claim spirit on every page.