Cynthia Rivera-Kelley was attending a SOAR orientation session for parents when she learned about UNC Greensboro’s Parent & Family Advisory Council (PFAC), a group of family members of current undergraduate students who voluntarily support the students, faculty, and families of the University.
Rivera-Kelley, now chair of the council, saw it as a great way to stay connected to what was going on at the University and to support her son, David.
And staying connected and supporting students h
aveas never been more important than this academic year, with the pandemic changing so much about the student experience.
“The council members really felt the need to step up not just for our own children, but for the entire student body going through this,” said Rivera-Kelley.
This past year, the council has met monthly to discuss ways to keep parents and family members informed and to give back to students during this difficult time.
Here are some of the ways PFAC has helped students, family members, and the campus community this academic year.
Keeping families informed to keep students safe
One of PFAC’s core goals is to advocate for the parents and family members of UNCG students by keeping them informed and making sure their voices are heard. As guidelines changed along with the different stages of the pandemic, PFAC made sure to keep parents and family members in the know.
During monthly meetings, the council has brought in leaders and experts from across campus to answer questions and address concerns that were being raised by parents and family members about student health, safety, communication, and more.
Another way the council has kept family members informed this year is by working with University Communications to launch a tile under the Families, Friends, and Fans persona in the UNCG mobile app to serve as a resource page with up-to-date information.
Providing scholarships and fundraising for students
The council made fundraising a priority this year, donating $5,000 to the Student Assistance Fund for Emergencies (SAFE) in the Fall 2020 semester and raising over $500 for the Spartan Families Fund through this year’s Believe in the G campaign.
Additionally, the Parent & Family Advisory Council Scholarship provided $1,500 to two students this academic year. Established in 2007, the scholarship recognizes students who have made contributions while at UNCG to foster goodwill and support for the University.
One of this year’s recipients was sophomore marketing major Essence Pauling.
“Receiving the PFAC scholarship meant a tremendous amount to me. My education is extremely important to me as a first-generation student, and my dream has been to graduate without student debt. This scholarship helps me achieve this goal.”
Fighting food insecurity
PFAC brought their support to campus in January with a day-long food drive for Spartan Open Pantry. UNCG parents and family members donated more than 190 pounds of food to support Spartans in need, increasing awareness of the pantry for students and their families who were coming back to campus for the Spring 2021 semester.
For more information on PFAC and to become a member, visit spartanfamily.uncg.edu.
Story by Alexandra McQueen, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications