Approximately 4,000 employees gather for Staff Appreciation Day activities
Markize Christian savored the food and had fun playing games, but what the groundskeeper with the Facilities Management Division enjoyed most about Staff Appreciation Day was the opportunity to be with other staff members.
"I used to work in Parking Services, so I saw some of my old co-workers," he said. "It shows us that we're appreciated. It shows us how big the university is. We really don't see this every day. It shows us how many people work here, and it opens our eyes to a bigger campus than we think."
Rachel Bartlett, a budget specialist in the budget division, agreed.
"It's just nice to get out of the office and mingle with people on campus," she said. "I feel like you don't really get to interact with people as much, especially in a central office like we are, so it's nice to see some of the people who are in the units we talk to on a daily basis."
Approximately 4,000 staff members gathered at the intramural fields for the event—the largest to date—held May 11. Activities for the third annual gathering included food, live music by Back in Time and Tropical Breeze, and a variety of inflatables and lawn games, as well as shaded areas to socialize.
Staff Appreciation Day is hosted by the Office of the President as a sign of gratitude for staff members' hard work.
"I want to begin today by just saying thank you to all of our staff," UGA President Jere W. Morehead said at the event. "We appreciate all that you do to support our great university."
Ella Stroud, who works in Dining Services at Bolton Dining Commons, enjoyed having "a few hours to relax a little bit" and took part in several games.
Auriel Callaway, a utility worker in Vandiver Hall, said she enjoyed the mechanical bulldog, in particular, as well as the food and treats like cotton candy.
"I'm enjoying everything about today," she said.
Staff Appreciation Day is coordinated by a committee of representatives from across campus, led by the President's Office.
"This is truly an exciting way for the University of Georgia to say thank you to our outstanding staff members," said Arthur Tripp Jr., assistant to the president. "Our planning committee was excited to put together such an incredible event."
Michael Lewis, an IT support coordinator in the geology department and chair of UGA's Staff Council, thought the event went well.
"The staff really enjoyed today-the music, food, fun and especially the appreciation expressed by President Morehead and the administration for all the work we do all year," he said.
The event is supported by private funds and by corporate sponsors such as Georgia United Credit Union, Kaiser Permanente, Valic, BB&T, Athens First Bank and Trust, AT&T, TIAA-CREF, Optum, WastePro, M&M Rentals and Piedmont Health.