As they chowed down on food truck fare, were digitally transported to faraway lands, won a litany of prizes, and were dazzled by the sleight of hand of a roving magician, the staff at California State University, Dominguez Hills were honored July 31 for all their hard work during Staff Appreciation Day 2015.
This year the day took on an international flare with the theme “International Day.” A caravan of food trucks served food from such country as Thailand, South America, Cuba and Japan. Staff took group shots in a photo booth with a variety of photo backgrounds of cities from around the world to choose from and fun accessories to wear, while others donned their own hats or other items that represented different cultures.
Venus Lee, a complex coordinator in University Housing who has worked at CSUDH for nearly five years, enjoys the diversity at the university and has witnessed firsthand how “the students really utilize and take advantage of our resources and what the staff has to offer them.”
“The students really appreciate us,” she said. “Staff Appreciation Day provides that amazing opportunity to stop and celebrate all the wonderful things we do. This is so important because it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget how much our staff does for each other, the faculty and the students.”
CSU Dominguez Hills President Willie J. Hagan spent some time mingling with staff members and being amused by card tricks performed by a magician before he performed his task of selecting the first group of raffle prize winners.
“I do a lot of events, and after commencement—the reason we’re all here—this is my favorite event. I really enjoy hanging out, and I feel a great affinity with the staff,” said Hagan before reading off the first winning ticket. “When I look back on my career—even when I was in college during my first job with the groundskeepers, I learned a lot from them. I remember having some money problems and a financial aid person sitting down with me to figure out how I could pay my way through college. My education might have occurred in the classroom, but I think staff played just as great of a role in getting me through college and being where I am today. You guys really make this institution run.”
The raffle included such prizes as two Samsung 50″ LED televisions, two bicycles, a mini-refrigerator, a variety of gift baskets, dining and gift cards, and movie tickets.
Monica Ponce (Class of 2006, B.A., business administration), acting employment manager in Human Resources Management, has been working at the university for nearly 10 years and spent her first year as a student assistant. She turned the raffle drum for Hagan and the other CSUDH administrators who called out the prize winners. Like her colleagues, she didn’t put her ticket in the drum because, she said, “seeing them win is award enough for me.”
“It’s important to recognize the staff members who work so hard to make sure our students are taken care of,” said Ponce. “Staff is often not as recognized as faculty and students for all the hard work we do. And we need to be. That’s why days like today are so important for all of us.”