Professor puts philosophy in practice with Alumni Association


By Alecia Hausmann, Contributor

This special section of the Gateway, which features stories on UNO students and faculty who volunteer, was submitted by  the School of Communication’s “News Writing and Reporting” students, under the supervision of Professor Kevin Warneke.

“The currency of any commitment is time” is a philosophy that Janice Rech, associate professor in the Mathematics department, shares with her students.

Rech puts this philosophy into practice by serving on the UNO Alumni Association board. She previously held a role on the board for the Omaha Ronald McDonald House.

Rech is the Faculty Senate representative for the UNO Alumni Association. In this role, Rech said she often has a more unique perspective than other board members. Her experience as a UNO alumna and current faculty member allows her to see perspectives from both lenses.

Lee Denker, president and CEO of the UNO Alumni Association, said Rech’s position plays a key role in helping shape the board’s decision-making.

Denker said the board determined years ago that it was important to have a faculty voice among its members.

“Having a faculty representative really allows us to bring the campus side to our discussions, which otherwise would be all alumni and community focused,” Denker said.

Rech said she hit a pivotal moment in her spirit of volunteerism 20 years ago when her son was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. When in Philadelphia seeking medical treatment for her son, the family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. Her experience there was a godsend, she said. When she returned home she felt compelled to get involved with the organization in some way.

Rech said there was no Ronald McDonald house in Omaha at the time, and that’s when she became one of its founding board members. Her work for the Ronald McDonald House has allowed her to see first hand how important volunteers are to organizations and the difference they can make.

“I think it is my responsibility,” Rech said. “I think that there are many good causes out there that only function because of volunteers who are willing to give their time and talent to the organization. And I think we all have those responsibilities.”

Her volunteer work has extended beyond her work with the UNO Alumni Association and Ronald McDonald House. She has been an active volunteer member of her church, Girl Scouts and her children’s sports teams. Rech also served as the UNO Faculty Senate president from 2011 to 2012.    

Rech’s advice for new volunteers is to find what matters to you.

“If there is something that matters to you, there is definitely a cause out there that could use your time and talent.”