Gators Get in the Groove
By Sheryl E. Taylor
About six years ago, UHD staffer Spencer Lightsy chose the bass.
He attended a free workshop at Houston’s Sam Ash Music store where he met American bassist, songwriter, and five-time Grammy Award winner Victor Wooten, who challenged him to play publicly. Lightsy accepted the challenge and became a regular at House of Blues Houston.
With a former fellow UHD colleague (Chris “Blu Hat” Bell), he founded the band Admission Possible at UHD.
Over the years, Lightsy attended a volunteer week and Jam Camp at the Victor Wooten Center for Music and Nature, which “blends a unique mix of nature studies to help each student realize and reclaim their naturalness,” not only in music, but in life. For Lightsy, his reason for attending Wooten Woods encompasses his love and appreciation for the outdoors and music. The summer Jam Camps are located on 150 acres on the Duck River in Tennessee.
In fall 2022, Lightsy started a student music group at UHD known as Gator Groove, and invited them to participate in two music showcases he hosted at the House of Blues.
“Over the years I’ve gotten to know the Wooten family, and I asked if they would allow three students to attend the volunteer week,” said the Associate Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations in the Division of Advancement & University Relations.
At the start of the summer, they select volunteers to assist in readying the first camp of the season. In exchange for volunteering, attendees receive free access to Jam Camp. In the near future, Lightsy would like to create a partnership with Wooten Woods to expand the number of UHD students who can attend.
Thanks to Wooten’s generosity, UHD students were invited to attend the camp as volunteers along with a $550 waiver for Jam Camp.
With Gator Groove, Lightsy hopes to expand the music performance opportunities at UHD.
Lightsy concluded, “UHD is known for exposing our students to high-impact experiences. Facilitating this trip was a means to align my personal interests with a University goal to nurture the innate talents of our students, while simultaneously equipping them to serve others in the process.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.