The UTS Staff Giving Program marks 10 years of achievement

Photo of staff donors

Pictured: UTS staff donors

The annual gathering of UTS staff donors leads by example in the fight for equity and social justice.

UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs hosted a select group of staff in March to honour their contribution to the university’s philanthropic vision. In particular, Professor Brungs hailed the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the UTS Staff Giving Program, which directly helps students who are facing social and financial hardship through their studies. Staff donors are collectively one of the largest donors to UTS.

“I am humbled that you have demonstrated your belief in UTS by investing not only your careers with us, but also at least a part of your philanthropic interests,” said Professor Brungs, who is himself a staff donor. “Your choice of making charitable contributions here shows your faith that they will be used well, in keeping with UTS’s culture of inclusion and support for all students in pursuit of excellence.”

Professor Brungs and Grace

Staff donations go towards the Diversity Access Scholarship, which is dedicated to assisting students who are facing social and financial hardship. In the past twelve months, UTS staff donors were able to help more than 1,500 students with new computers, text books, accommodation, food vouchers and more – expenses that can make the difference between working long hours to pay the rent and being able to study without any of those worries.

These experiences were relayed first-hand by law student Grace Stals, who shared the personal struggles she has had to overcome to study at UTS. Over the years, she ran away from home to escape an abusive single father, lived on the street, and then dropped out of school to reconnect with her mother, who was dying of cancer.”

“You may look at me now and think I’m well spoken, or well dressed, but I would not be any of those things were it not for my education. And my story is not uncommon,” said Stals. “Working helps students survive, but scholarships help us live. From a practical perspective, they’re the reason I can pay my power bills, get my hair cut, and buy my textbooks… Receiving the support helps me breathe easy.”

““Thank you” doesn’t quite cover it,” she continues. “I want to represent the vulnerable, undertaking research into our existing social and legislative structures, and to advocate for change, so that no child goes through what I’ve been through. Please just know that your generosity helps make dreams like mine a reality.”

Staff donors, who can be readily identified through their gold lanyard, were also gifted a small token to mark the occasion – a tiny seed pot that, with a little water and sunshine, will grow into something more. It’s a fitting reminder that every contribution, no matter how modest, can go on to achieve great things.

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