Students and personnel from The University of Texas-Pan American gave back to the community Saturday, Feb. 23 by volunteering their time and resources to help build the Discovery Park expansion at the McAllen International Museum.
Designated "UTPA Day" in a proclamation signed by UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez earlier in the month, more than 300 administrators, faculty, staff and students spent the day hammering, painting, sewing, sweeping and more.
"The mission of the museum and the mission of UT Pan American is the same, and that's education," said Nevárez, who volunteered his time.
"This project is a great way to get the community involved in the museum, and I'm just real proud of the personnel at the University. They've showed up in great numbers."
The new addition to the museum will include a creativity center, a quilting exhibit and mosaic artwork. In addition to the manual labor, the University has been involved, through class projects, in designing some of the exhibits, which will be on display in the Pavilion.
"Having UT Pan Am faculty and staff volunteer part of their Saturday to help us build the discovery pavilion is terribly exciting for those of us who have been working on this project for the last two years," said Mike Blum, McAllen International Museum board member."
Among those volunteering their time were Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost/vice president of Academic Affairs; Dr. John Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services; and more than 30 Physical Plant employees.
"When Dr. Nevárez declared this day museum day, I had a meeting with all of our guys, and I told them we needed skilled volunteers," said Alberto Ochoa, Physical Plant director. "When you have something like the museum in need of some help, they know it's payback time."
Students from various clubs and organizations - including the Student Leadership Program, ROTC, the Criminal Justice organization, the Association of Migrant Students and the Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP)- all lent a helping hand to better serve the children of the community.
"Having a good museum helps the community grow culturally," said Raul Cabrera, sophomore international business student. "I have received. Now, I can give back."
A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for December 2002. To volunteer or for more information about the "Big Build," contact Matilde Caceres at the McAllen International Museum at 956/682-1564.