The 2009 Connecticut State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (CSEC) is under way, and University President Michael Hogan is hoping the nearly 8,000 employees at the UConn Health Center and the Storrs-based programs will be willing to dig deep.
“As a public university, the state and its citizens give us so much – their time, their resources, their students – and the State Employees’ Campaign is a chance for all of us to give something back,” Hogan says. “We need to be known as good neighbors, and this is one way we can do that. Please give as generously as you can.”
Last year, UConn employees were particularly generous. Faculty and staff at the UConn Health Center contributed more to the charitable campaign ($179,875) than any other state agency. Employees of the University’s Storrs-based programs were close behind, donating another $173,820. And employees at the Law School and School of Social Work added another $20,000.
Only three other state agencies topped $100,000.
“UConn employees have traditionally been a very giving group,” says Stefanie Landsman, coordinator of the Storrs-based campaign. “But our participation on the Storrs campus could be much stronger. It would be wonderful to see more people step up and get involved. Even $1 per pay period makes a difference. Our new slogan, UConn Cares: One Pledge at a Time, reinforces the desire to come together as a campus, and the impact of each and every pledge.”
At Storrs, our campaign efforts, which began Sept. 15, will run through October. Most people will receive their packet, which includes a pledge card, a return envelope, and a letter from Hogan, from their office coordinator. Employees can return their pledge card to the coordinator or put it in the envelope and return it to Landsman through campus mail.
For the first time, the packets will not include a directory of the nearly 1,000 organizations to which faculty and staff can contribute. Instead, coordinators have been given a single booklet that can be passed around, or people can access the list of organizations through the campaign web site.
The decision to use fewer booklets was made to cut down on overhead costs, says Jan Gwudz, director of the statewide effort.
“Last year state employees contributed more than $2 million,” Gwudz says. “UConn and the UConn Health Center played a huge role in reaching that total, the first time we’ve exceeded $2 million. I’d love to see the workers at my alma mater step up again and push that ceiling even higher.”
Among UConn donors, many of the contributions remained local, with the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry, which operates the Willimantic-based soup kitchen, receiving the second most amount of any agency. Immediately behind WAIM was the Windham Region United Way, and the fourth largest was the Hole in the Wall Gang. Habitat for Humanity of Northeastern Connecticut and the Windham Habitat for Humanity also were among the top 12.
Overall, contributions can be directed to more than 1,000 charities, community organizations, research groups, arts and environmental organizations, and other organizations that help the less fortunate.
It is an effort near and dear to Hogan’s heart. He was active in campaigns as a dean at Ohio State University and as provost at the University of Iowa. This year, Hogan named a steering committee early this summer to find ways to increase giving at UConn. He also invited Landsman – who coordinated last year’s campaign at UConn – to return as coordinator.
“There are a lot of people who are hurting in Connecticut,” he says. “I think it’s incumbent upon those of us who are still working, who have good, well paying jobs, to reach out and do what we can to help. Let’s go, UConn – let’s show that Husky spirit.”