Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

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May 18, 2022

Picnic Returns to Thank, Celebrate CMU Community

By Bruce Gerson

Good food, games, prizes, a chance to see friends and colleagues in person, and those scrumptious ice cream sandwiches marked the return of the Carnegie Mellon Community Picnic. 

Hosted by the Office of Human Resources and Staff Council, with support from the Office of the President, the Community Picnic honors campus community members for their vital contributions to the university. More than 2,000 attended the picnic after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“After a truly outstanding commencement weekend, the CMU Community Picnic was a thank you to the entire CMU community for their tireless work all year long and a celebration of being together on campus at the conclusion of another successful and memorable academic year,” said Michelle Piekutowski, CMU’s chief human resources officer.

The picnic lunch in Rangos Ballroom and Wiegand Gym featured a buffet, including a garden salad, fruit salad, sloppy joes, BBQ shredded chicken, hot dogs, black bean and corn salad and cole slaw. Hundreds topped off lunch with a must-have ice cream sandwich.

“I’m thrilled that Staff Council has once again partnered with CMU HR to bring back the Community Staff Picnic,” said Staff Council Chair Amy Kunkle, operations coordinator for CERT at the Software Engineering Institute. “It is extremely important for us to be able to have an event that pays tribute to our hardworking and dedicated staff members. I 'm grateful for the opportunity to thank and celebrate our colleagues in person for all their valuable contributions to our CMU community.”

Six baskets of prizes were raffled off with some winning tickets to a Pirates game. Some picnic-goers played outdoor games, like cornhole.  The Scotty Dog, the Pirate Parrott and Kenny Kangaroo made cameo appearances.

But the biggest benefit for some was the chance to see friends and colleagues again.

“Coming together again really builds community and camaraderie,” said Pam Eichenbaum, senior manager of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement in the Office of the President. “Even with the students gone just days after Commencement, there’s an energy on campus now that didn’t exist last year at this time.”

“Coming together again really builds community and camaraderie.” — Pam Eichenbaum

Toby Meyer, a member of the technical staff at the Software Engineering Institute, has been working remotely for the past two years. He came to campus specifically for the picnic.

“I didn’t see my co-workers because many of them are in Maryland and D.C., but I sat down with a group of people I had not known before and started chatting it up. It was very good,” he said. 

Also back at the picnic this year was the popular community art show. Sixteen members of the campus community put their art on display, from acrylic on wood to paintings to photographs.

Amy Ashley-Matta, business administrator for the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, said she enjoyed the art exhibit.

“There’s an interesting mix of media and styles, and it’s nice to see the creative side of people I have heard of or met in passing or on Zoom meetings. That’s something I wouldn’t normally see,” she said.

Rangos Ballroom filled with picnic goers
More than 2,000 members of the campus community attended the CMU Community Picnic on May 18.
President Jahanian with mascots
President Farnam Jahanian took a break from serving in the buffet line to get a photo with Kenny Kangaroo, the Pirate Parrot and CMU's Scotty Dog.
a photo of one of the tables
Those in attendance enjoyed a buffet picnic lunch and, of course, those delicious ice cream sandwiches.
baskets with raffle prizes
Six baskets filled with prizes were raffled off. Some baskets included tickets to a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game.
the community art show
Sixteen members of the campus community put their artwork on display in the Cohon Center's Kirr Commons.
staff play cornhole at the picnic
After lunch some picnic-goers played cornhole near the Merson Courtyard.
Pirate Parrot and Carole Panno
The Pirate Parrot reminded everyone about the upcoming Carnegie Mellon University Day at the Pirates, September 25.