A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Staff Appreciation Week 2016 Deemed a Success

May 26, 2016

Staff Appreciation Week 2016 was one for the record books.

A host of staff members attended or participated in last week’s activities, which served as the annual salute and thanks to staff members for their contributions and service to UC Merced.

The theme of this year’s event was the Olympics, a nod to the Summer Games happening in Brazil later this year. The celebratory week, organized by UC Merced’s Staff Assembly, kicked off May 17 with the Opening Ceremony Staff Breakfast held on the third floor of Kolligian Library.

Staff members in attendance started the day with eggs, sausage, fruit, yogurt, juice and coffee. Staff Assembly President Pam Taylor offered welcome remarks, as did Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brian Powell, whose office sponsored the breakfast. Campus mascot Rufus Bobcat made a special appearance and took time to pose for pictures with attendees.

The Staff Games and Ice Cream Social, held May 18, saw record participation with 16 teams. More than 130 participants and spectators were on hand for the games, held in the Bowl. TeamsStaff members pose with UC Merced mascot Rufus Bobcat during the Staff Appreciation Week breakfast. showed their competitive spirit in activities that included tug-of-war, a pie-eating contest and obstacle course. The winning teams were announced during the Staff Picnic. First place went to team Athletics; second place to the Olympians (Academic Personnel, Office of the Provost and International Affairs) and third place to Crazy Train (Transportation and Parking Services and Health Services). Chancellor Dorothy Leland attended the games and took photos during the event.

Picnic Attendance Up

Seventy staff members attended campus tours, which quickly filled up shortly after registration opened. Tours included the Vernal Pool and Grasslands Reserve, Central Plant and the campus’s newest sustainable facility, the Classroom and Office Building 2, which officially opens in June.

The week ended with the Staff Picnic and Community Vendors Fair, held in the Carol Tomlinson-Keasey Quad and along Scholars Lane. More than 442 staff members attended the event, up from 381 who attended in 2015. This year’s event was truly picnic style, as staff members brought lawn chairs and blankets and gathered on the grass and under trees while they noshed on a lunch of lemon chicken, hummus, rice pilaf and pita bread. The weather cooperated as well, as cooler temperatures that day helped make the outdoor event enjoyable.

Staff Assembly sold 150 Staff Appreciation Week T-shirts, which featured the campus’s iconic Beginnings sculpture in the style of the Olympic Rings on the front, and the phrase “Felis Rufus Fortius,” which means “Bobcat Strong” in Latin, on the back. Ten 2016 SAW shirts — small and medium sizes — are still available to purchase for $20. Contact Staff Assembly for information.

Staff Appreciation Week involves an enormous amount of planning, and it could not have been done without the help of many volunteers. The Staff Assembly executive board offers thank and kudos to the following people who served on this year’s SAW 2016 planning committee:

  • JaeJae Julian, Development and Alumni Relations
  • Magdalena Castaneda, Development and Alumni Relations
  • April Graves, Office of the Provost
  • Maria Gasca, Office of the Provost
  • Rosalina Kaji, Calvin E. Bright Success Center
  • Simrin Takhar, Academic Senate
  • Lizbeth Cervantes, Admission and Outreach
  • Matthew Pucci, Recreation and Athletics
  • Onar Primitivo, Office of Student Life
  • Rachel Peters, Information Technology
  • Aaron Winek, Campus Dining
  • Carlton Stroud, Enrollment Management Systems
  • Christopher Bernal, Student Alumni Association
  • Gabrielle Orduna, Student Alumni Association

Follow this link to view a larger image of Chancellor Leland’s SAW 2016 photo collage.