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New Staff Council chair plans to promote staff connections, camaraderie

For Jeremy Shapiro, the decision to serve on the University of Houston-Victoria Staff Council stemmed from a desire to know more about what is going on in different parts of the university.

Jeremy Shapiro

Shapiro, the UHV communications manager, came to UHV in 2012 from Kansas. He is the UHV Staff Council chair for 2017-2018 and represents the university’s staff on the UHV President’s Cabinet.

“After my first year here, I felt like I still had so much to learn about UHV,” Shapiro said. “I wanted to get involved on campus and find out more about the university and the people who make it a successful institution.”

In 2016-2017, the Staff Council focused on promoting an environment where staff members felt free to express concerns and ask questions. That remains a priority this year. Another major goal of this school year is to increase communication and involvement between the Victoria campus and UHV Katy, and promote a positive atmosphere for staff members and the university, Shapiro said.

The university hosts community service opportunities and events on campus all year, and the Staff Council hopes to get more staff members involved and play a larger role in those projects.

“Whether it’s Jags Join In: Day of Service, the International Festival or Homecoming activities, UHV staff members can make a huge difference through their involvement and support,” Shapiro said.

In addition, the council wants to create a social event that will allow staff members from Victoria and Katy to come together and get to know each other outside of work.

“We’re still considering what this event will look like, but we want to offer it so that people from both locations can attend,” Shapiro said. “We might find a venue between Victoria and Katy or offer shuttles to help people get to the event. But the main emphasis is to promote camaraderie and connections among the staff.”

As the university begins a new fiscal year with a budget reduction from the state, Shapiro plans to make sure UHV staff members know their voices and concerns will be heard.

Amy Hatmaker

“Our staff understands that there are budget challenges,” he said. “As a council, we are here to listen to their concerns even if it’s just to let people vent, and we’ll be sure to take those concerns to the administration and work to find solutions.”

Before serving as Staff Council chair, Shapiro spent a year as vice chair under Amy Hatmaker, UHV Career Services manager, who will remain on the Executive Committee as past chair.

“Jeremy is going to be a fantastic chair,” Hatmaker said. “He is informed, involved and stays up-to-date on all the issues facing the university. I think he will be a wonderful advocate for our staff.”

Serving with Shapiro and Hatmaker on the 2017-2018 Staff Council are:

  • Vice Chair – Camilla Sutton, Residence Life assistant director
  • Secretary – Mary Field, business administrative assistant
  • At Large Victoria – Freddie Cantu, Student Life & Services coordinator; Veronica Lopez, Student Success coach
  • At Large Katy – Carolyn Martinez, UHV Katy director of campus services; Anette Phillips, UHV Katy student services coordinator
  • University System Staff Executive Council Representative – Erika Vermillion, Provost’s Office senior administrative assistant

Staff Council meetings typically are the second Thursday of each month. Rooms are specified in an email sent out a few days before each meeting. The next meeting will be Sept. 14.