With over 400 student organizations at the University of North Texas, students have many options for organizations to join, but they can also create new ones like the members of UNT Compliments did.
UNT Compliments was founded as social media accounts by junior Haley Barnes in August of 2013 to spread positivity to UNT students. Two years after its creation, UNT Compliments became an official student-run organization at UNT in September 2015.
“Our mission is to highlight and continue the good UNT is doing and will do,” Barnes said. “We want to recognize active Mean Green citizens and thank faculty, administrators, and employees who continuously make the Mean Green dream possible for over 37,000 students yearly.”
They have hosted events like “Thank Denton!” to support emergency officials in Denton. Recently they had an event called “Pop of Positivity.” At this event, UNT students could come up and pop a balloon to receive a compliment. In the fall, the organization will also be hosting A Very Potter Sequel, which is a musical based off of the popular series Harry Potter.
“We want to thank those hard workers of the university, while creating mor
e opportunity to allow UNT students to give back, through our own events or by promoting other events of other student organizations who make a difference on campus,” Barnes said.
Barnes, who is also the vice president of Society of Women Engineers, senator in the UNT Student Government Association, member of the North Texas 40 and the Society for the Advancement of Material Process Engineering, created Twitter and Facebook accounts in 2013 because of some cyberbullying accounts that were popular at that time. While there can be a lot of negativity on social media, UNT Compliments strives to spread positivity, according to Barnes. Students have the option of sending anonymous compliments through a Google Forms submission page.
“It made my day when I got anonymously complimented on UNT Compliments,” sophomore Kalyn Dodson said. “One small compliment can really turn someone’s day around.”
However, the social media accounts were not enough for Barnes and the other members of UNT Compliments. They wanted to make it an official student organization.
“We debated a student org for some time, but had no idea how to implement it properly that aligned with the work we were doing on social media,” Barnes said. “Finally we decided on a service org that highlighted UNT.”
There are not many requirements to create new official organizations. The requirements listed on the student affairs website include eight currently enrolled UNT students as members, a full-time faculty member as a sponsor, two officers, a mission statement of the organization, and a constitution. Barnes credits Dan Goodwin, coordinator for student organizations, for helping shape UNT Compliments’ paperwork and mission statements.
The members of UNT Compliments are called Positivity Ambassadors. The organization started out with only 17 members when they became official last semester, but now they have increased their membership to 33. Positivity Ambassadors are expected to propose and execute two service projects per semester and also participate in at least four UNT events.
“I believe our students would really like being a source of positivity on campus and bring joy to people when they least expect it,” sophomore Michelle Fresnedo, UNT Compliments’ historian, said. “Being an ambassador accomplishes this goal.”
The organization’s moto is “the power to imagine better for the University of North Texas.” The Positivity Ambassadors’ goal is to make UNT a more positive environment.
“Witnessing UNT Compliments’ growth from its inception, has given me insight to how people’s lives can be changed through positive reinforcement,” UNT senior and Positivity Ambassador Whitley Green said. “UNT Compliments finds strength where there is weakness and restores light within darkness. It has been a true blessing to be a part of.”
There are also several privileges for UNT Compliments that come along with being an official organization, according to the UNT Student Affairs website. Some of these privileges include opportunities to participate in university-sponsored events as an organization, opportunities to grant awards and honors to members, and many more. One of the long term goals for UNT Compliments is to be able to provide scholarships for its members, according to Barnes.