Beautiful Day

Faculty, staff don’t let it get away

More than 80 faculty and staff volunteers spread out across the Volker and Hospital Hill campuses to landscape, paint, pick up, plant and otherwise beautify the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

It was this semester’s Faculty-Staff Service Day, a semiannual rite of both spring and fall that has quickly become a popular campus event. A warm, sun-filled day didn’t hurt turnout, and mascot Kasey Roo helped rally the crowd while volunteers enjoyed doughnuts and fresh fruit.

The service days achieve a dual purpose – to beautify the campus, and as a rallying point for the Faculty-Staff Campaign, an internal component of the Campaign for UMKC, the university’s 7-year, $250 million capital fund drive.

Chancellor Leo E. Morton explained that the faculty-staff component of the campaign has significance beyond the actual dollars raised, important as those dollars may be.

“When you ask people in the community to invest, the first thing they want to know is, what are you going to invest?” Morton told a crowd of volunteers between the day’s first and second shifts.  Noting that the faculty-staff campaign has already raised $4.7 million toward its $5 million goal, he added, “Beating that number would show the community that we went beyond our target, so they can go beyond the $250 million target for the campaign.”

The campaign is also closing in on its participation target of 45 percent of employees, with 37.5 percent already engaged.

The campus beautification aspect is also important, Morton said, as UMKC nears the dates for several major events that draw thousands of visitors, such as Commencement and the Alumni Awards Luncheon. Many of those visitors will be prospective students, or those who influence prospective students’ choices.

“Parents don’t monitor classes. They don’t look over the shoulders of our researchers. But they will judge us by whether this looks like a place where they want to send their children,” Morton said.

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