The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Mustang Partners deliver service during season

A group of university volunteers was honored by school officials including head football coach Phil Bennett and SMU President R. Gerald Turner Monday afternoon.

The Mustang Partners, comprised of roughly 40 SMU faculty and staff volunteers, are on hand at sporting events to answer questions, direct visitors and make sure students and guests are observing the rules of the Boulevard and surrounding areas.

Mustang Partners enhance the image of SMU, Bennett said.

The program initially began in the fall of 2000 with the opening of the Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

“[Prior to 2000], a program like this was missing. Every other university I have been at has had a program like Mustang Partners,” said volunteer John Gibson, SMU Staff Association president.

Mustang Partners brings a sense of community to the campus, Gibson said. However, the participation of faculty and staff is vital to the program.

“The faculty and staff give consistency to the program because they are the ones who are around campus the longest,” Gibson said.

Volunteers say they get a personal satisfaction out of serving the school.

“[Mustang Partners] gives you an opportunity to represent your campus and meet your colleagues,” said volunteer Marc Valerin, the director of graduate and executive admissions of SMU’s School of Engineering. “It’s fun and it’s doing a service for the university. We are essentially good-will ambassadors for the university. Plus, the free tickets are a nice perk.”

Campus Visitation Coordinator June Williams said the school is looking to raise awareness about the program and recruit more volunteers. They are looking for people who know about the campus and can help others.

Since fall 2000, the program has primarily focused on the football season. However, once the program gains momentum, it is hoped Mustang Partners will expand to include all sports, as well as other campus activities, said Gibson.

Since its beginning, the Mustang Program has received positive feedback from students and visitors to campus.

“Other schools have observed the program and say they are going to bring a program like it to their own campus,” Valerin said.

Bennett agrees that the program is an asset to the school.

“It takes a lot of people to put on a game day operation; it is not just the performance on the field that matters,” Bennett said. “Mustang Partners is definitely an important part of the game day experience. They bring an atmosphere of school spirit.”

Volunteers do not have to commit to serve for an entire sports season, although several faculty members do. It is not necessary to be a part of SMU staff or faculty to sign up.

The group is also made up of several alumni volunteers, as well as spouses of faculty and staff members.

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