Carnegie Mellon University

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May 24, 2017

Picnic Celebrates Staff with Music, Food and More

By Kelly Saavedra
Staff Picnic

Hundreds of Carnegie Mellon University staff gathered at the Cohon University Center on Wednesday, May 24, for the annual CMU Community Picnic.

Staff Council Chair Shernell Smith said the event is an opportunity for staff to stop, take a break, and celebrate the successes achieved over the past year.

“The Community Picnic is so important because it makes it possible for senior administrators and staff to celebrate together, and with the administration’s help and support. It’s a means for them to say to everyone, ‘Job well done,’” Smith said.

This year, a live band provided entertainment, along with games, giveaways and photo booths, where co-workers enjoyed and captured funny moments together.

Nicole Atwell, senior associate director of engagement and annual giving in the School of Computer Science, said, “It’s a great way to see everybody who plays a part in this wonderful community supporting Carnegie Mellon, and to spend time with each other.”

“It lets us know we’re appreciated,” Mike Papuga, a laborer in Facilities Management, said of the picnic.

Willie Simmons, who works for the university through Aramark, a custodial services company, said he enjoyed the picnic as an opportunity to get to know the people he sees every day.

“We see each other when we’re walking past each other, and a lot of times we are too busy to speak,” Simmons said during the picnic. “Here we have time to sit down and talk to each other, get to know what each other really does around here, and offer each other help for things that need to get done. It’s an opportunity to build better communication.”

Rodney McClendon, vice president for operations, said the picnic is an opportunity to celebrate staff and thank them for their dedication all year long.

“The timing is absolutely great. It’s the end of the academic year. It’s an opportunity for everybody to come together and celebrate all the accomplishments that have been achieved because of the hard work of the staff, to say thank you for all of that dedicated service, and to just relax and exhale for a minute,” McClendon said. “This year, there was more music, more games and more opportunities to say, ‘We acknowledge you. We see you. We celebrate you. And we thank you.”

The annual Community Picnic is presented by the Office of the Vice President for Operations through partnership by Human Resources and Staff Council, and support from the Office of the President.