A familiar face returned to The University of Texas-Pan American July 9 when Edna Zambrano, former assistant then associate director of UTPA's Student Union from March 2003 to July 2006, started her first day as the Student Union's new director.
Zambrano, who left a year ago to become transit manager for the city of McAllen, said she was excited to be back at UTPA to manage what she calls the University's "living room."
"I feel right at home and am looking forward to reaching out to more staff that I didn't get an opportunity to work with before. I am also looking forward to working with students to offer them a Student Union that all of them can visit and be proud of," she said.
"While her familiarity with the Student Union is a real plus, I believe her greatest assets are her intelligence and her strong work ethic. Our goal is to create a more engaging yet comfortable student environment in the union and I think Edna will make an impact right away," he said.
A McAllen native who graduated from Nikki Rowe High School, Zambrano obtained both her bachelor's degree in political science and her master's in public administration from St. Mary's University in San Antonio. While a student she held a number of positions involving student campus life before beginning her professional career at St. Mary's as a conference services coordinator. She was first hired at UTPA in 2001 as an orientation coordinator in the Office of New Student and Visitor Services.
In her role as Student Union director, Zambrano will be responsible for overseeing the operations of the 44,000-square foot facility and many campuswide activities and events, including the annual Distinguished Speakers Series, which has hosted a diverse roster of renowned speakers since it was initiated in 2004.
She will supervise three full-time employees and approximately 25 student employees as well as regularly meet with the Student Union Advisory Board, comprised of students, faculty and staff, who provide input on what events, activities and services the Student Union should offer. Zambrano said student input is particularly vital to the Student Union's future.
"The facility is maintained financially by students and we want to make sure that we care for its resources and that we have the services and activities that they need and want," she said, adding that the board was currently seeking new membership.
A scheduled "face-lift" of the facility will occur in the next few months, Zambrano said, which will include painting, refurbishing some furniture, and the provision of some new equipment for the game room and updating of audio/visual equipment in the meeting rooms and the theater. She added that some new Student Union services for students will be unveiled when the fall 2007 semester begins.
Zambrano said the Student Union's role as a gathering place for students, staff and faculty is an important one and plans to work with student organizations and faculty to identify some needs for programs and find the appropriate fit for the Student Union to be involved.
"It is a place where UTPA gathers to share a meal or have a discussion about a pressing topic on our campus or in the world. It is also a place where we celebrate our student successes," she said. "One of my goals is to transform the Student Union into a place where you can visibly see the life of campus as well as celebrate our Bronc spirit and our students."
For information on the Student Union Advisory Board or upcoming events, go to the Student Union office located on the second floor, Room 2.316 or call 956/316-7989.