A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Here They Come to Save the Day: UC Merced Staff

May 13, 2014

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s UC Merced’s Super Staff!

Staff members might not be able to leap UC Merced’s tall, sustainable buildings in a single bound, but their hard work and dedication does help the campus advance its missions of research, teaching and public service.

Recognizing staff members’ significant contributions to UC Merced’s success is the reason behind the campus’ Staff Appreciation Week, May 19 through May 23, culminating with the annual Staff Appreciation Picnic. Sponsored by UC Merced Staff Assembly with support from the Office of the Chancellor, the theme of this year’s appreciation week is “Celebrate the Super Staff of UC Merced.”

“We’re always excited to plan for Staff Appreciation Week,” said Ellie Jorritsma, Staff Assembly’s chair of programs, events and outreach. "We have a great group of creative volunteers who are willing go the extra mile and came up with variety of great activities."

Activities Planned at Off-Campus Sites

The planning committee has organized an array of fun-filled activities and events, including tours, a farmers market, ice cream treats, a kickball tournament and more. While many events will be held at the main campus, some activities will take place simultaneously at the Promenade, Castle, the Mondo Building and Fresno Center. A full schedule of events is posted on the Staff Assembly website.

The week starts with a farmers market on Scholars Lane on MOnday, featuring honey, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and frozen-lamb vendors. On Tuesday, staff members at all sites can start their workdays with coffee, juice and homemade coffee cake prepared by Dining Services.

Popular Critters Photo Contest Returns

Each location will have a Super Critter photo gallery. Staff members have until noon today to submit a picture of their pet/animal companion and colleagues can vote for their favorite critter, and the critter with the most votes wins. It costs $1 to cast a vote and each person can cast as many votes as he or she wants. Voting will be done online, however voters can pay with cash in person at the main campus on Wednesday during the afternoon ice-cream-treats giveaway in KL 355. Proceeds from the Super Critters contest go toward the Staff Assembly Scholarship fund.

Organizers have also scheduled several tours throughout the week. Staff members can get a glimpse of the new, nearly completed Science and Engineering 2 Building, hike to the iconic barn and vernal pools and grasslands or see the inner workings of the Central Plant. A kickball tournament takes place during the lunch hour on Tuesday with playoffs set for Thursday at the same time. Registration for the tournament can be done online via the Staff Assembly website. Slots for all the tours, with the exception of Central Plant, were full as of May 13 and have waiting lists.

Kayak Races, Picnic on Friday

The week culminates with the Promise Campaign Kayak Race on Friday, followed by the Staff Appreciation Picnic. School deans and other administrators will take to Little Lake in kayaks for the Promise Campaign Kayak Race at 11 a.m. The group — which includes deans Mark Aldenderfer, Juan Meza and Dan Hirleman, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Tom Peterson and vice chancellors Kyle Hoffman and Sam Traina — is making good on the promise made last fall that they would race kayaks in the campus’s man-made lake if they raised $10,000 during the systemwide Promise for Education Campaign. The campus community is invited to come to the Wallace-Dutra Amphitheater and cheer them on.

Following the kayak races, the picnic starts at noon in the first-floor Lantern and patio, during which the Staff Excellence Awards winners will be announced. The nomination process underwent a change this year as a result of staff feedback received from a 2013 Staff Assembly survey, Staff Assembly President Katie Unruh said.

Another change staff members will notice this year is the service awards that recognize employees who’ve achieved five, 10, 15 or 20-plus years of service will not take place during the picnic as it has in previous years, but is instead scheduled for the fall semester.

Unruh said the festivities are a fitting end to another busy and productive academic year at UC Merced.