Staff Assembly Making Waves on Campus

Awards, meetings, campuswide events, and more, are all part of the work Staff Assembly leads at UCR

On Dec. 2, 2016 Staff Assembly presented the Get Recognized award to Teresa Villarreal, a campus apartments lead in the Campus Apartment Resident Service Office. staff assembly

The end of the quarter turned out to be one of the busiest times for UCR’s Staff Assembly team.

They surprised an employee with the “Get Recognized” award; hosted a 29-member delegation from the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies; and put the finishing touches on their latest creation: Sawubona Award of Appreciation, which recognizes the teamwork of a particular department.

This work is above what they do in their daily UCR assignments. Their dedication to boosting morale and resources for UCR staff receives ongoing funds from the Chancellor’s office. And Staff Assembly raises its own support through Society ’54. The money is reinvested on staff via awards, training or campuswide activities. Their next campuswide event is the annual Holiday Hoedown, scheduled for Dec. 16, 3-5 p.m. at HUB 302.

Get Recognized

December’s Get Recognized recipient was Teresa Villarreal, a campus apartments lead in the Campus Apartment Resident Service Office.

On Friday, Dec. 2, Villarreal, who has worked at UCR for 13 years, was called into a mock meeting with her supervisor; in the meantime, Villarreal’s colleagues and Staff Assembly members gathered near her desk to surprise her with a certificate and balloons. Get Recognized is Staff Assembly’s monthly peer-to-peer recognition program.

Amy Henderson, the coworker who nominated Villarreal for the award, said Villarreal can calm upset customers and her compassion even made her rush out of the office to help an elderly man who nearly fainted in a parking lot on a hot summer day. “She put his arm around her shoulder and assisted him into the car once the wife got there,” Henderson wrote in the nomination letter.

Henderson said Villarreal treats residents as if they are her family. “There have been countless times where residents and customers come into the RSO angry and screaming, and after speaking with Teresa for a few minutes they are laughing and making small talk,” Henderson wrote.

Doing the job is almost effortless, said Villarreal. She’s worked at UCR for 13 years and has learned to love the campus, the students, and her colleagues, she said. Get Recognized was the first award she’s received during her time here, although she has been nominated before. She shared the news with her two daughters and husband, John Herrera. In her off time, she and her husband spend time on horse rescue efforts in the high desert region.

“I’m so honored, so grateful. It made my heart soar,” she said. “It was wonderful. I’m blessed to be part of this organization.”

Sawubona Award of Appreciation

For Staff Assembly co-directors of involvement and recognition, Jamal Myrick and Frank Figueroa, this past quarter has been about thinking outside the box. What is an appropriate way to recognize positive office culture and contributions by an entire team?

Staff Assembly co-directors of involvement and recognition, Jamal Myrick and Frank Figueroa.
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By saying sawubona, of course. Sawubona in the south African language, Zulu, means “I see you.”

Recognizing a team’s impact for the campus, can be translated into motivation and productivity, Myrick said. “It is imperative that staff understand that they are the lifeblood of a campus culture for our students and each other,” Myrick said.

Myrick and Figueroa are currently looking for nominations. Write to them and explain why an entire team, department or office deserves to be recognized.

They are at: Jamal Myrick: jamal.myrick@ucr.edu; and Frank Figueroa: frank.figueroa@ucr.edu

CUCSA on Campus

The Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) meets on a quarterly basis, but with 10 campuses, UC Office of the President, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Berkeley Lab to rotate, it had been about three years since the last time the CUCSA team met at UCR.

From Dec. 7 to 9, 29 CUCSA members visited UCR to talk about priorities, including: advocacy, mental health, financial literacy, and diversity.

During the three days, UCR Staff Assembly President Robert Wolfer and Vice President Julie Salgado were hosting the CUCSA team, and brought in several UCR administrators to speak on the four key topics.

“We are all doing our part, it’s just like an ecosystem,” said Lina Layiktez, director of Conference and Event Services at UC Davis.

Nick Everson, Berkeley Lab chief operations officer, said last week was his first time visiting UCR. He said being a CUCSA member has allowed him to better understand the UC system and how to better connect the lab with all the other campuses.

Walen Ngo, a program manager at UCLA Extension, said the CUCSA meetings are a great way to exchange ideas and work to improve the lives of all staff members.

“The more we know, the more we can work together. It’s powerful to know that you are part of this bigger system and that you can make a difference, that you can make an impact for everyone,” Ngo said.

Throughout the conference Wolfer and Salgado made sure the delegation also got a taste of UCR. They included campus tours, citrus tasting, and a reception at The Barn — fully escorted by a bagpiper.

“It’s great to highlight what UCR offers to the rest of the system and to share the jewel that is UCR to the rest of the campuses,” Wolfer said.

UCR hosted 29 delegates from the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) Dec. 7-9. In this photo the team poses with Scotty at The Barn. 
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