Last fall, after reviewing Distinctively Wayne State, the institution’s strategic plan, Daren Hubbard, chief information officer and associate vice president for computing and information technology (C&IT), started thinking about how C&IT could engage the plan’s strategic focus on community engagement.
While many C&IT employees volunteer in the community, Hubbard decided to focus on what could be done to contribute to Wayne State’s campus. The result was a formal request that C&IT employees volunteer for a full week — or 37.5 hours each year — at WSU events.
“It makes me feel good to go to events and see C&IT people helping out and making a difference,” Hubbard said. “It’s a chance to be visible and to participate in the core mission of the university.”
The request was made in September and Hubbard says employees have run with it, including maintaining a stream on Academica dedicated to volunteer opportunities.
Melissa Crabtree, senior director of customer service, said she’s not surprised by the positive response.
“It is part of C&IT’s mission and values,” Crabtree said. “This new initiative of Daren's just takes it to the next level. I think it gives everyone an added amount of pride that they are making a difference here at Wayne State — not only in technology, but in the broader sense of being a part of something special, part of a community, part of a family.”
Crabtree, who has volunteered for many events including move-in weekends, FestiFall, and orientation, says she gets something out of it, too.
“C&IT can be pretty segmented off, and it is really easy to get caught up in your own day-to-day and forget about what else is going on,” she said. “Volunteering gives me the opportunity to remember why we are all here, interact with and meet students, and see and meet other staff.”
Cyndy Hopkins, executive assistant, volunteered for March’s STEM Day by cleaning tables and passing out food to middle school students. She also assists the Black Faculty Staff Association through her decorating and computer skills.
“I was excited when Daren announced the volunteer initiative,” Hopkins said. “It was a great encouragement and incentive for us to volunteer. I feel a sense of accomplishment, like I'm part of a community when volunteering.”
Hubbard says he plans to track the number of volunteer hours this year, but already views it as a distinct success.
Photo caption: Volunteering for the Late Night Breakfast in fall 2016 are (from left to right) Svetlana Pacifico, Lori Shoviln, Syed Ali, Julie Zhu and Matt Lessins.