Nett’s Resource Room Honors Alumna’s Memory, Helps Students
By Mike Emery
University of Houston-Downtown alumna Antoinette Sloan had plans to start her own nonprofit organization aimed at helping those in need. Unfortunately, the former social work student was unable to bring that dream into fruition as her life was tragically cut short in September 2019.
Her charitable spirit, however, is alive within the offices of UHD’s Social Work Program (Room 346 of the Commerce Street Building). Inside the main office is a resource room available to College of Public Service students. Students have access to professional clothing for internships and interviews, non-perishable foods, toiletries, shoes and other items. To honor Sloan’s memory, this space has been nicknamed Nett’s Resource Room with appropriate signage adorning its door.
Faculty, friends and family members recently gathered in the Social Work Program’s suite to cut the ribbon on this resource room and pay tribute to the late Sloan. In attendance were nearly 50 members of Sloan’s family, including four-month old daughter Lauren Gabrielle Green and parents Erma Jones-Sloan and Anthony Sloan.
The room not only salutes Sloan’s passion for social work, it serves current and future students who may need basic items to help them succeed in the classroom and in the community.
“Nett’s Resource Room is a tool for student success,” said Dr. Dawn McCarty, associate professor and program director of UHD’s Social Work Program. “Our job is to make certain that our students graduate, and providing sometimes for their basic needs during a financial or family crisis is all they need to stay on track.”
According to McCarty, the items many people take for granted can make a major difference for students who are facing challenges. The apparel and food provided in Nett’s Resource Room can help students stay in school and ultimately apply what they’ve learned to help others in the community.
The room opened to support students who were displaced or lost belongings during Tropical Storm Harvey. Donations are provided by members of the campus community, as well as Houston’s Casa Juan Diego (providing food items).
“It’s been a blessing for students,” said Vivian Smith, administrative assistant II in UHD’s Social Work Program. “As long as our Social Program is here, this resource room will be open to students. And, we will continue to remember Antoinette within this room.”
Student Marisol Orozco uses the room from time to time. As an intern with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and a student worker, she will visit the newly christened Nett’s Resource Room for items she may need such as work attire.
“I’m always here on campus, so this room is very helpful,” she said. “Students don’t always have the finances available to purchase items of clothing or even food, so we’re very grateful. It lets us know that our college and the University cares and wants us to succeed.”
Nett’s Resource Room is always accepting donations such as clothing and canned food. UHD Community members can drop off items with Vivian Smith in C-345.
“Anything helps,” said McCarty. “Donations to this room supports our students and honors the memory of a very special alumna of the College of Public Service.”
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.