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Enrichment Committee: ECL's special events "A-Team"

May 8, 2018

By S.A. Reid, Contributing Writer, Campus Life Communications

Lights, camera, action! Campus Life is going decidedly “Atlantawood" when it gives staff the red carpet treatment this coming week at its annual awards program.

The themed 2018 Campus Life Awards for Superlative Service Awards (CLASS) Luncheon is celebrating its 25th anniversary from noon until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, at the Cox Hall Ballroom, a milestone made possible through the work of a dedicated production crew known as the Enrichment Committee.

Committee meeting

Several members of the Campus Life eight-person Enrichment Committee meet to put finishing touches on the 2018 CLASS Awards Luncheon. (From left: Carol Duncan, Ieishia Fuller, Mekeshua North, and Scott Wile. Photo by Staff.

For years, the Enrichment Committee has labored to make the popular event fun and memorable for the honorees receiving recognition for their outstanding work and contributions to Campus Life and the entire staff.

The seven-member committee of staff volunteers from various Campus Life departments deserves a bit of shine, too, for all the work it puts into planning the CLASS Awards celebration, as well as the Winter Holiday and Administrative Professionals Day luncheons.

Bridget Guernsey Riordan, assistant vice president for Campus Life, who was honored last year with the Engaged Scholars Award, praised the committee for doing what she says is a good job in bringing staff together in such as a fun and spirited ways.

“They don’t ask for any thanks but the rest of us just bask in their kindness,” says Riordan.

The often unsung, in-house event planners, however, say no applause is needed for what they consider an opportunity to put their creative and organizational talents to use on behalf of their Campus Life colleagues.

“Most of us come up with ideas and follow it to the final product,” said four-year member Scott Wile, senior office assistant in the Finance Service Center. “It’s a little distraction from our everyday responsibilities of what we do in our nine-to-five work. We have fun doing it.”

The committee’s current members have served for the past couple years, according to Mekeshua North, who has led the group since 2012. Her affiliation began in 2011 as an advisor to what was then called the Staff Development Committee. That body, she says, initially organized book clubs and other social events before beginning to plan what have become the Enrichment Committee’s signature events.

Such events each can draw as many as 250 attendees and require a significant investment of time for planning and execution. Committee members have it down to a science: Come up with a theme, split the duties, and get it done. It helps that they like each other and work well, North adds.

Tirelessly committed to producing programs that please honorees and attendees, the committee is gratified by the overwhelmingly positive responses that it has received over the years from Campus Life colleagues and other guests.

“We only have a few signature events, and we want to wow them every single time. That’s what keeps me in knots,” North says. “Of course, you’re not going to please everybody, but we try.”

Themes like this year’s play on Atlanta’s growing prestige as a film and entertainment industry mecca are central to the success of the committee’s signature events like the CLASS Awards Luncheon.

Attendees at the upcoming luncheon will fete their colleagues against the backdrop of films made in Atlanta, rolling on flat screens and tables with Hollywood-esque centerpieces.

Carol Duncan, a human resources associate, is the committee’s creative rainmaker when it comes to generating new themes every year, such as superheroes, circus, holiday magic, and winter world unity.

“I love it,” says Duncan, a committee member for more than three years, who credits North with coming up with what she described as “fabulous” menus. “I really enjoy making the decorations and centerpieces. I like coming up with the themes. We always try to make it something relevant.”

Ieisha Fuller, another HR associate, is the lead planner for the Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon, now in its fifth year. The event, which recently gifted 21 Campus Life staff members with Google Assistants, grew out of her interest in assuring that administrative assistants get the recognition they deserve for their essential contributions to the division’s operations.

“This year, I was really excited about the opportunity to give them something that they could really use,” said Fuller, a former committee chairwoman and administrative assistant in Residential Life and Housing. “It was exciting to see the looks on their faces when they opened their gifts.”

The committee has come a long way from what Frances Lucas, then-senior vice president for Campus Life, envisioned when in the early 90’s she brought a group of people together to create ongoing staff professional development and recognition opportunities.

Long after Lucas’ departure, the culture of praise that began under her leadership continues through the Enrichment Committee and its signature programs. However, according to Lucas and Riordan, the inspiration belongs to then-director of residence life Brit Katz. Years before he created the CLASS Awards program, Katz became a pacesetter in recognizing outstanding service through the generous accolades, including hundreds of hand-written notes, that he regularly accorded his Campus Life colleagues.

“Isn’t that something?” says Lucas, now a consultant. “I’m very proud that the traditions that we started 25 years ago are still going today. I think it’s just wonderful.”

Campus Life Staff Serving on Enrichment Committee

Carol Duncan, Human Resources Associate
Ieisha Fuller, Human Resources Associate
Marlon Gibson, Director, Sorority and Fraternity Life
Janelle Goodwin-Farley, Meeting Scheduler/Coordinator
Carol Kinsey, Administrative Assistant, Student Health Services
Mekeshua North, Senior Manager, Human Resources
Kimberly Taylor, Associate Director, Business Operations
Scott Wile, Senior Office Assistant, Finance Service Center