Monday, July 19, 2021

Dear UNT Students,

As I've often said during the last 15 months, each member of our UNT Family has shown remarkable character while navigating a global pandemic. None of this has been easy, and your ability to persist through mental, financial and personal challenges is admirable. Because of your care and resolute attention to detail, our community is healthy and in-person experiences are returning to our beloved campus. I look forward to a vibrant, engaging full university experience this fall, made possible because our community is embracing science and taking advantage of COVID vaccines.

Medical experts from some of our most prestigious academic institutions have said vaccines can help us reach herd immunity and end the pandemic, but more inoculations are still needed. The virus' latest mutation, particularly the Delta variant, appears to have an increased ability to spread from person to person, and COVID cases are once again on the rise. Almost all hospitalized patients are unvaccinated individuals. It is becoming more and more evident that people who are fully vaccinated have a high degree of protection from severe disease outcomes associated with COVID-19, including the Delta variant. To encourage vaccination, we are launching a Student Vaccine Incentive Program today, Monday, July 19.

For the next several weeks, students who opt into the program will receive one UNT Dining Services meal voucher and be eligible to win one of more than 30 prizes per week, including an Eagle Parking Permit, financial awards valued from $250 to $4,000, a Barnes and Noble at UNT Bookstore book stipend, and more. A similar incentive program for faculty and staff was launched on July 6, and we anticipate awarding more than 2,500 total prizes between both vaccine incentive programs.

Click here to participate in the Vaccine Incentive Program and to upload your vaccine information. Participants will be automatically entered into each week's drawings and will receive one meal voucher . Weekly winners, who grant permission, will be listed on the Health Alerts website. All prizes will be distributed the week of Aug. 16, after verification of enrollment for the fall is confirmed. For more information about the Vaccine Incentive Program, email

You can learn more about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines from the CDC, and use the Texas Health and Human Services website to help you find a vaccination location. UNT's Student Health and Wellness Centeris offering vaccine appointments on a limited basis for UNT students, as well as faculty, staff and UNT System employees.

One of the best qualities ever-present in our Mean Green Family is how much we care for one another, and the compassion we show our fellow Eagles each day. By taking individual and collective steps to help one another stay healthy and safe, we are building a better UNT. I am immensely proud of who we are as a community.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk