August 17, 2023

Fall Opening introduces events to engage employees

Human Resources employees Mytheia Thomas (left) and Amber Reagan pose next to Thank a Colleague display board in the Student Center.
Human Resources employees Mytheia Thomas (left) and Amber Reagan pose next to Thank a Colleague display board in the Student Center.

Whether you want to get out and meet new people from different areas of the university, thank a current co-worker or just enjoy a cup of coffee, the Fall Opening employee engagement activities have something for you.

“I think it’s really important to help employees across campus connect and understand the work that others are doing,” said Emily Reetz, a political science academic advisor and co-chair of the Employee Engagement Committee. “The ability to bring employees together to have conversations and build connections across campus is important, and that’s what the committee had in mind when we put together these events.”

The Fall Opening employee engagement activities kicked off with the Thank A Colleague campaign, which began Aug. 7 and runs through Aug. 20.

Wayne State employees can share their gratitude and appreciation for their co-workers by filling out a form and sending an official virtual letter of gratitude.

“Just getting something that says thank you can be a big lift from people,” Reetz said. “We wanted to give people the opportunity to be supportive of their co-workers. And there are some employees who are more student-facing, who might not be able to come to enjoy some of the other Fall Opening events. This gives them an opportunity to get involved or be thanked for their great work.”

On Aug. 21, the Hidden Gems of Campus Tours give employees the chance to explore some of the more unique parts of campus. There are multiple time slots available for each of three different tours, which run one hour.

RSVP for the Campus Art Tour, Old Main Museum Tour and WSU Data Center Tour.

“We all work on campus, but many of us only really go to the buildings we work in,” Reetz said. “We don't always understand the history and all the amazing things that we have physically on our campus, like the art and the museums in Old Main. One of our committee members suggested the data center after recently seeing it and being blown away by how it keeps all our technology running. We thought this was a great opportunity to connect employees — both new ones and employees who maybe have been around for a while but haven’t had the chance to experience some of these hidden gems."

Coffee with Co-Workers runs from 9 to 10 a.m. on Aug. 23 at Gullen Mall. Employees are welcome to grab free coffee and new Wayne State President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., is scheduled to stop by.

“This one is pretty straightforward: We wanted to offer a quick pick-me-up in the morning,” Reetz said. “People can come, grab a cup of coffee and a pastry. Employees are encouraged to mingle and meet some new people, but it’s obviously not required.”

The Employee Zen Den is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 24 and features a series of activities to help employees relax and recharge, including yoga, tai chi, meditation sessions, sleep and stress workshops, chair massages, crafts and more.

All sessions will be led by campus members and Wellness Warrior partners.

“We wanted to offer short activities so that people could pop in whenever they wanted and didn’t feel like they were interrupting something,” Reetz said. “It’s quick little things that can help people decompress or just take a step back and take care of themselves for a few minutes.”

In addition to all the Employee Engagement Activities, employees are encouraged to attend Fall Opening’s other events such as FestiFall, or to volunteer.

A complete list of events can be found on the Fall Opening website.

Reetz enjoyed her time on the Fall Opening Employee Engagement Committee, which also included Brett Green, Kate Bernas, Angela Zanardelli, Janie Williams-White, Stacie Moser, Wendy Wippich, Elizabeth McQuillen, Maria Coleman, Kelly Dormer, Theresa Ramirez-Zipser, Travis Van Dyke, Kevin Mayhew and Dawn Aziz.

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