Thursday, April 16, 2009

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UT System Staff to Kick-Start National Volunteer Initiative with Community Service Event

AUSTIN – In an effort to support a national volunteer initiative, employees of The University of Texas System administration will be lending a hand this weekend to a charity event benefitting an Austin organization that provides a safe harbor to victims of sexual and domestic abuse.

The systemwide effort, known as United To Serve, precedes National Volunteer Week, which runs April 19 – 25. Besides the local volunteer initiative, hundreds of faculty, staff and students from all 15 UT System institutions this month will be involved in a myriad of activities aimed at promoting community service across the state.

The UT System administration volunteer effort, now in its fifth year, will support the SafePlace Field Day and Festival on April 18 at Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Bergman Ave. SafePlace is a nationally recognized leader in providing resources and shelter to victims of sexual and domestic violence.

“Many students, faculty and staff of the UT System enjoy their service to the community as much as they enjoy working in classrooms and laboratories,” UT System Vice Chancellor for External Relations Randa S. Safady said. “It is always gratifying to see so many volunteers across UT’s 15 institutions and administrative offices highly engaged with the community not only during organized volunteer weeks but throughout the year.”

Elsewhere, some of the activities involving UT System volunteers will include staffing a relay for the American Cancer Society in San Antonio; planting flowers at a retirement community in Odessa; and feeding out-of-town families of hospital patients at the Ronald McDonald House in Galveston.

A special Web site highlights the various volunteer efforts in each community involving UT System personnel. For more information on those activities, visit: www.utsystem.edu/ocr/UnitedToServe/.

The UT System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.5 billion (FY 2009) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 195,000 in the 2008 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's healthcare professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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