UA Cares events are springing up throughout campus to support a wide range of causes, including student scholarships and critical community services. The University of Arizona's annual employee-giving campaign kicked off Oct. 14 and wraps up Nov. 26.
"This year, our help is needed more than ever," said Holly Altman, director of outreach and community partnerships for the Office of Community Relations. "UA Cares coordinators and steering committee members are taking the challenge to heart, developing fun and creative ways to encourage participation."
Student Affairs kicked off a unit-wide fundraising challenge to support the Arizona Assurance Program, which helps students from low-income families attend and graduate from the UA debt-free. In the Office of Student Financial Aid employees are submitting "I Dare You" proposals and the most popular – the ones that generate the most contributions in jars – will be carried out. Dare proposals include challenging two employees to perform Michael Jackson's "Thriller" with gloves and a wig, challenging female financial aid counselors to not wear any makeup for two days, and challenging individuals to wear totally mismatched clothes, or other outrageous garb, to work, including biking gear, a wedding dress and formal evening attire.
"We are serious about supporting Arizona Assurance," said Leah Cox, program coordinator for the financial aid office, who is leading the UA Cares effort with Rebekah Salcedo, also a program coordinator in that office. "More and more parents are struggling to send their children to college, and education is the key to their future success. Every dollar helps. And, as an added bonus, employees are really getting into this and it is helping morale during a difficult transition."
UA Libraries, traditionally a leader in UA Cares participation, has added a food drive to its campaign. According to the Community Food Bank, requests for emergency food boxes have increased by 50 percent over the last 12 months. In response, "Building A Mountain of Food" will take place in the Main Library staff lounge during the next two weeks.
The now-famous "Chorizo Breakfast" and raffle, conducted by the UA Budget Office, generated more than $3,100 for the Dick Roberts Scholarship Fund last month. Roberts, who died in September 2007, was UA budget director. "This is our way of helping students succeed, and honoring the memory of Dick, who we miss so much," said Ann Araiza, manager of local funds for the UA Budget Office, and leader of the massive cooking project that took place in the basement of the Administration Building. "This is our way of carrying Dick's vision, commitment and compassion with us into the future."
Also of note was the "Facilities Management Chili Cook Off," attended by several hundred people, which generated more than $1,000 for Tee Up For Tots, a non-profit program that assists families of children suffering from pediatric cancer. And, employees in UA Business Affairs created their own cookbook to sell, with proceeds benefiting the Community Food Bank.
Employees are encouraged to participate in campaign activities and to submit UA Cares donations online through Employee Link, or by paper pledge. Donations can be made to any UA program area through UA Foundation or to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency through the United Way.
For more information, visit the UA Cares Web site or contact Holly Altman at 626-4671.