Written by: 
Amanda Yanowski

The UNT Diamond Eagles Society -- an innovative giving society that pools individual gifts to fund projects determined by a member majority vote -- is celebrating five years of difference-making at UNT. Founded by co-chairs Debbie Smatresk and Cathy Bryce ('91 Ph.D.), the group offers members the opportunity to contribute $1,000 and make a $100,000 difference in all corners of campus.

2017 -- Diamond Eagles Family Patio
The inaugural Diamond Eagles project nearly doubled the square footage of the UNT Alumni Pavilion, where crowds gather to share their Mean Green spirit and enjoy food and live music.

"Now, we're seeing between 500 to 700 UNT alumni here celebrating before each and every home football game," says Daniel Suda, director of affinity programming for the UNT Alumni Association. He says the expansion also allowed for the space to be better utilized for other events, such as an alumni gathering during the Homecoming bonfire and the new Farewell Toast tradition for graduating students.

2018 -- Diamond Eagles Student Resource Center
UNT Student Affairs supports those who are facing food insecurity and who do not have professional clothing for job interviews or cannot afford graduation regalia. Funding from the Diamond Eagles allowed the division to combine Mean Green Gowns for Grads, the Suit Up Closet and the UNT Food Pantry Presented by Kroger into one location.

"The Diamond Eagles gift was instrumental in our ability to pull all of these resources together into one location," says Elizabeth With, vice president for student affairs.

Centralizing the programs minimizes labor costs and allows students to have their needs met with privacy and discretion. And, most importantly, it solves problems that might stand in the way of a student's well-being and achievement.

2019 -- Digitizing the Texas Fashion Collection

The Texas Fashion Collection (TFC), part of the UNT College of Visual Arts and Design, has a mission to preserve and present nearly 20,000 historic and designer garments and accessories spanning over five continents and 250 years of fashion history. With funding from the Diamond Eagles, the TFC is working on a digitization project that preserves artifacts, enables research and provides student professional development opportunities.

"We've been able to digitize over 5,500 pieces in our collection," says Annette Becker, director of the Texas Fashion Collection. "These are incredible examples of fashion history that exist nowhere else."

2020 -- Mean Green Mobile Media
This joint venture of the Mayborn School of Journalism, the Department of Media Arts and Mean Green Athletics allows students to utilize a new mobile studio for live event coverage of UNT and community events. Andrea Miller, dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism, sees the ability to add field production to the list of training UNT can offer as a game changer that creates invaluable, real-world experiences for students in the media arts and journalism programs.

"We're very excited to be able to give the students another experience, another level of skills that they can take with them when they graduate," Miller says.

2021 -- Diamond Eagles Garden at Mean Green Acres Hydroponic Farm
UNT Dining Services is known for innovation, and part of its recipe for success is hydroponic gardening -- using a water-based natural nutrient solution to grow plants without soil. This increases access to hyperlocal food on campus and allows for a more farm-to-table experience without the challenges of outside conditions.

With Diamond Eagles support, Dining Services will expand and relocate its hydroponic farm, creating the new Diamond Eagles Garden at Mean Green Acres. At the new garden, proven methods that are earth-friendly, forward-thinking and economical will be used to increase the variety and double the amount of produce grown on campus.

"We truly appreciate the support of the Diamond Eagles, and we will carry this forward by producing healthy, sustainable greens for the entire campus to enjoy for years," says Cristopher Williams, chef and general manager of Mean Green Café and Mean Green Acres.

Interested in joining the Diamond Eagles Society and helping shape the UNT experience for current students and future generations? Visit one.unt.edu/diamondeagles.