Music to Our Ears: Concert Chorale and Basic Needs Center Partner for Toy Drive
UHD’s newly formed Concert Chorale did a beautiful thing last November—actually, two beautiful things. Under the baton of Director of Choral Activities Orlando Williams, the Chorale performed wonderful arrangements of holiday classics in its inaugural Winter Concert on Nov. 28. In the spirit of the holidays and symbolic of UHD’s culture of caring, the Chorale also used the occasion to partner with the Basic Needs Center for a toy drive to benefit UHD students.
The 152 gifts collected that night and throughout December found homes with the families of 53 UHD students in need of gifts for their children. In anticipation of distributing the toys on Monday, Dec. 18, the Basic Needs Center staff made sure the gifts were wrapped, and the Milam and Travis rooms were decked out for the holidays. Eugene Bernard, Director of Basic Needs; Michele Holt, Basic Needs Coordinator; and Michael Simmons, Basic Needs Coordinator, admitted that seeing the smiles on our students’ faces as they received the toys was the best gift of all.
According to Williams, “The Basic Needs Center was the perfect organization to partner with to implement a service project on our campus,” said Williams. “I knew that, collectively, we would make an impact through service.”
And while there are many words one could use to describe the Toy Drive—successful, cheerful, rousing—Eugene Benard, Director of Basic Needs, said it best: “It was a great event!”
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.