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Record Number Turn Out for Staff Appreciation Picnic

By Ioana Patringenaru | August 18, 2006

Chancellor Fox
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox
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They ate chicken teriyaki and burgers. They drank lemonade and ice tea. Some even nibbled on funnel cakes.

A record number of staff members turned out for this year’s Staff Appreciation Picnic on the Sun God Lawn. In all, 2,594 people signed up for the event, but about 3,000 actually turned out, outgoing Staff Association Chair Ken Tomory estimated. In past years, attendance hovered right around 1,200, said Jacque Fowler, a former staff association president who works in the chemistry department. The Chancellor and Vice Chancellors’ offices were instrumental in increasing turnout, she said.

“I couldn’t ask for a better day or for better employees,” Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said Friday during brief remarks. “Without staff, this university closes down.”

UCSD Catering also was key to the event’s success, Fowler said. In past years, volunteers from several staff associations cooked and also sold some food items as a fundraiser, she said. This year, UCSD Catering did the cooking and served up the picnic’s free fare. Staff associations sold sodas and ice cream.

UCSD Catering Crew
Food provided by UCSD Catering

“It makes it more an event for people to enjoy each other and enjoy the fact that they work at UCSD,” Fowler said.

Awaiting the hungry staff members who signed up for the event were: 2000 hamburgers, 1,250 smoked hot links, 500 garden burgers, 600 to 700 of marinated teriyaki chicken thigh meat, 2,400 pieces of fresh corn on the cob, 2,500 slices of watermelon, 600 pounds of potato salad, 500 pounds of pasta salad, 100 gallons of ice tea, 100 gallons of ice water and 100 gallons of lemonade.

Linda Maepa, from the Scripps Genome Center, had teriyaki chicken, watermelon, potato salad and lemonade. She was planning to get some funnel cake, too. She had come prepared with two blankets and also brought some crochet, to keep her busy while she waited for a few colleagues to show up. It was her first Staff Appreciation Picnic, she said. “I think it’s a very good idea,” she said. “It’s nice to go out and cross-pollinate.”

Malerie Samadi from ACT
Malerie Samadi - ACT Help Desk

Funnel cake and chicken also were on the menu for Malerie Samadi, who works at the ACT help desk and has been a UCSD employee for 10 years. This year’s picnic is better than last year’s, she said.

During the picnic, UCSD officials also launched a fundraising campaign targeting faculty and staff, that will go towards the $1 billion goal for The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next.  Faculty and staff can earmark their contributions to any area of campus, including science, scholarships, research, healthcare or the arts. Two specific initiatives are part of the new fundraising effort: the UCSD Faculty-Staff Undergraduate Scholarship Endowment, which supports high-performing students with financial needs who are daughters and sons of UCSD employees, and the Staff Development Fund, which helps staff participate in conferences and other career training opportunities. 

Former UCSD employee Darcy Bingham said Friday that she and her husband, Robert, will match every gift of $10 to $5,000 that current, former or retired UCSD staff members make to the scholarship endowment during the 2006-07 fiscal year, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $50,000.   

“Thank you for all you do and enjoy the picnic,” Bingham said. 

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