Leading by example

Picture of Liz Hurley

Pictured: UTS staff donor Liz Hurley

UTS staff go above and beyond to ensure students reach their full potential.

Promoting social justice and equality has always been at the core of UTS’s mission, values that can be found at the heart of the university’s growing workplace giving community. Through their collective efforts, UTS staff donors are making a big difference in ensuring every student has the opportunity to access a world-class education, regardless of their background or circumstance.

One of those donors is Liz Hurley, a leadership and development specialist in UTS’s Human Resources department. Her days are spent in the university’s HR training rooms in the UTS Tower building, overlooking students hard at work preparing for lessons and exams on the university’s Alumni Green.

“The Diversity Access Scholarship has been a miracle, and without it I’d be struggling to eat and my university grades would not be good. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity of this scholarship as without it I’d be lost. The scholarship has changed everything for me.” – Zac, Diversity Access Scholarship recipient

“For me, participating in the Staff Giving Program is about social justice. I can do it, and I don’t notice it because it comes out of my pay packet before it even hits the bank,” she says.

Hurley directs her donation to the UTS Diversity Access Scholarship, which provides financial support for deserving students from a range of disadvantaged backgrounds. The scholarship helps them purchase study essentials, as well as covering travel and living expenses. For many students this support can mean the difference between staying at uni and deferring their studies or dropping out entirely.

Coming from a working-class background, Hurley knows how difficult university life can be.

“My parents realised that education was really important,” Hurley says. “They didn’t understand a lot about it, but they pushed us, even when it was financially a bit of a strain, and everyone else said it was a crazy thing to do.”

Hurley’s family rallied around her when she moved to Sydney to study. “If I didn’t have that support, I probably would have needed help too,” she says. “I just hope I can ease the burden for somebody else.”

Hurley adds, “I went to university when it was free. Today, kids are coming out of university with a debt on top of the cost of living. That kind of pressure must put a strain on the kind of experience you have.”

Hurley knows she isn’t alone in her thinking. Giving is part of the culture at UTS. More than 250 staff members participate in the university’s workplace giving program, collectively raising more than $160,000 each year. In addition, the university matches donations from staff dollar-for-dollar as a demonstration of its commitment to helping students realise their full potential.

The culture of giving is not limited to payroll giving. Many current and former staff continue to make an impact, generously leaving a gift in their will to the university. As with contributions to the Staff Giving Program, bequests can be made in all shapes and sizes.

Former UTS Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Ross Milbourne, has included a gift in his will to benefit sports students at UTS who need assistance with overseas travel. This will become a legacy that will positively impact the lives of students for generations to come.