Carnegie Mellon University

Staff Council

The voice for staff at Carnegie Mellon University

Staff Council Representatives

Staff Council is comprised of elected representatives who work closely with university administration to address issues and develop best solutions for staff and the university community. Representatives are elected to a two-year term of service and are expected to actively engage their constituents and participate in Staff Council initiatives. Staff Council ensures that all schools and campus units are represented.

2021-2022 Staff Council Leadership

Lauren Vereb
Lauren Vereb
Staff Council Chair
CMU Position: Assistant Director of Alumni and Constituant Engagment, CMU Advancement
Matthew Demilio
Matthew D'Emilio
Staff Council Vice-Chair & GEM Co-Chair & RGAC Chair
CMU Position: Director of University Contracts Office, Office of the General Council
Mary Ganska
Mary Ganska
Staff Council Secretary
CMU Position: Assistant Director Office of International Education
Kara Branby
Kara Branby
Staff Council Treasurer & Wellness Chair
CMU Position: Facility Security Officer for SEI

Staff Council Committee Chairs

The Staff Council general body is comprised of a set of sub-committees that are open to any staff member of the CMU community to join.

Benefits Committee

The Benefits Committee researches and discusses issues related to the staff benefits package and helps to educate staff on the range of benefits and services available to them. 

The committee hears concerns or calls-to-action from staff members and may partner with Human Resources and Faculty Senate to address issues or proposals related to employee benefits. 

David Danenberg
David Danenberg
Benefits Chair
CMU Position: Associate Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, Heinz College Admissions
Kaycee Palko
Kaycee Palko
Communications Chair
CMU Position: Academic Advisor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee provides vehicles and venues to communicate the activities and goals of Staff Council.

The committee advises on message and engagement strategies to build and strengthen relationships, to connect staff with important information and resources, and to provide channels by which Staff Council gathers questions, concerns, and great ideas from its constituents. 

Jaime Rzepecki
Jaime Rzepecki
DEI&B Chair
CMU Position: Covid Support Associate, University Health Services

DEI + B Committee

This *new* committee aims to amplify and expand upon the DEI-related work already happening at CMU with special attention given to the issue of belonging. By working collaboratively with other units on campus, we aim to identify and develop initiatives that create an equitable work environment where diverse individuals are not only included but feel that they belong. 

Food Drive Committee

The Food Drive Committee is responsible for planning, organizing, marketing, and implementing the University’s Annual Food Drive. The Food Drive usually begins in late October or early November, lasts for two weeks and is open to participation by all staff, faculty and students. The committee members begin meeting in early September to plan and strategize for the drive. Tasks that need to be completed to make the drive successful include: planning the One Can/One Day event at the annual Benefits Fair, organizing Cans Across the Cut, advertising the drive and the corresponding events, and planning the logistics of the drive. All proceeds benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Carole Panno
Carole Panno
Food Drive Chair
CMU Position: Associate Director of Gift Planning, University Development
Matthew D'Emilio
Matthew D'Emilio
Staff Council Vice Chair & GEM Co-Chair & RGAC Chair
CMU Position: Director of University Contracts Office, Office of the General Council

Governance, Election & Membership Committee

The Governance, Election and Membership Committee is designed to oversee matters related to the internal operations of Staff Council. The committee supports Staff elections and membership activities, advises on the Staff Council Constitution, and implements strategies and guidelines to achieve operational efficiency within the organization. 

Joel Tachoir
Joel Tachoir
GEM Co-Chair
CMU Position: Director of IT, Student Affairs
Desirée Chronick
Kennywood and Entertainment Perks & Discounts Chair
CMU Position: Administrative Assistant, Student Academic Success Center

Kennywood & Entertainment Discounts Committee

The Kennywood & Entertainment Discounts Committee plans and organizes the annual employee day at Kennywood Park.  The committee is also responsible for setting the date in June, making arrangements for prizes, raffles and ice cream at the pavilion. View the FAQs page for details.

The committee also coordinates seasonal discounted tickets that can be purchased by CMU staff and faculty for venues such as Cedar Point, Hershey Park, Idlewild, SandCastle, as well as discounts at various vendors and local organizations.

Relations Guidance Advisory Committee

The mission of the Staff Council Relations Guidance Advisory Committee (RGAC) is to serve as a confidential and objective peer resource to university staff experiencing a workplace issue(s) to help ensure fair staff relations and to support the university’s commitment to equality, ethical behavior and respect for others. Learn more...

Matthew D'Emilio
Matthew D'Emilio
Staff Council Vice Chair, RGAC Chair & GEM Co-Chair
CMU Position: Director University Contracts Office, Office of the General Council
Jen Weidenhof
Jen Weidenhof 
Rewards & Recognition Chair
CMU Position: Business Administrator, Operations Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholar Development

Rewards & Recognition Committee

The Rewards & Recognition (R&R) Committee manages the years of service awards that are presented at the annual Andy Awards in the fall semester. The R&R Committee also plans an annual end-of-the-year appreciation lunch for Staff Council members, donates a book to Hunt Library commemorating staff who have passed away in the previous year, and works closely with the Staff Council Communications Committee in highlighting staff achievements.

Kate Ickes
Kate Ickes
Sustainability Co-Chair
CMU Position: Coordinator of Student Affairs and Project Administrator, Office of the Dean of Students

Sustainability Committee

The Sustainability Committee was formed in 2010 in order to develop a more comprehensive waste reduction and energy conservation program specifically for staff members working in coordination with CMU's Green Practices Committee. A representative from the Sustainability Committee is typically designated as a liaison to participate on the Green Practices Committee.

Staff Council can lobby to change university policies as they affect staff and the entire campus community. These 'green initiatives' include working to increase CMU's recycling rate, helping facilitate Zero Waste events with Catering / Dining and other campus vendors, and educating staff about alternative commuting and Green purchasing opportunities.

Adam Loucks
Adam Loucks
Sustainability Co-Chair
CMU Position: Administrative Coordinator, Engineering and Public Policy
Pattye Stragar
Pattye Stragar
Take Our Children To Work Chair
CMU Position: Operations Manager Athletics

Take Our Children to Work Committee

Based upon the national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work (TODASTW) program (started in 1993), the campus Take Our Children to Work started in 2002. The committee meets several times throughout the year to plan the event, which takes place on the fourth Thursday of April. But the bulk of the work begins in January and culminates on the day of the event, which can be quite busy, but lots of fun!

Wellness Committee

The Wellness Committee is committed to educating CMU employees about making healthy choices and decisions regarding their personal wellness that will enhance their work experience. Employees are encouraged to take an active part in their own personal well-being and take advantage of the resources on campus, such as the free Group Exercise program for staff and faculty, the Walking Club on various routes on or near campus and a variety of initiatives and interactive programs.

Kara Branby
Kara Brandy
Staff Council Treasurer & Wellness Chair
CMU Position: Facility Security Officer for SEI