ERA Priorities for 2022 by President Pat Crews
I am honored to serve as the president of the UNL Emeriti and Retirees Association for 2022 and look forward to the opportunity to interact with more ERA members and the board during the coming year.
I would like to express a special thanks to Kim Hachiya for her leadership this past year that marked the 60th anniversary of our association, to Don Weeks for his steady guidance, and to the board for its vision and resolve as we navigated through the uncertainties and challenges of the ongoing pandemic. Our monthly programs featuring a range of topics (Covid vaccines to honey bees to Nebraska vines and wines) were well attended whether via Zoom (January to September) or in-person (October to December). We are fortunate that Kim will continue to share her talents on the board for the coming year in her advisory role as past president. In addition, she has agreed to serve as secretary for the association to fill the void that arose when secretary, Linda Major, was elected Vice President/President-elect.
I would also like to extend a special thanks to Alfred Stark, Website and Technical Coordinator. He has worked tirelessly to make our meetings and coffee chats via Zoom run smoothly. In addition, he single-handedly set up the technology to make our October, November, and December luncheon meetings available on Zoom for those who were not able to join us in person. We could not have offered the fall luncheon meetings via Zoom were it not for Al’s expertise and willingness to devote the additional hours necessary to make them happen.
Jim Griesen and Earl Hawkey deserve special recognition for drawing up guidelines for our newly established, need-based scholarship fund for UNL students. Earl made a generous leadership gift and has agreed to match up to $5,000 in subsequent gifts. It is exciting to launch this new scholarship program. Through it we will help students with unmet financial needs continue their college education at UNL for decades to come.
Many thanks to the Social Events Committee of Jane Zatechka, Jim Griesen and Rita Weeks for planning several very enjoyable coffee chats last year (some in-person--Wilderness Ridge and Mill @Telegraph and several via Zoom). Planning is underway for coffee chats in a variety of locations and formats for the coming year.
Our Vice President, Linda Major, is developing a wonderful array of speakers for the coming year. We plan to hold luncheons in-person whenever UNL guidelines and public health conditions allow, but will pivot to a virtual format when they do not. Please contact Linda if you have a topic or speaker to suggest.
Priorities for 2022:
- Grow the endowment for the newly established scholarship fund. We need $30,000 to fully endow this need-based scholarship for a sophomore or junior UNL student. Please consider making a contribution to this scholarship fund. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we reached the $30,000 mark in 2022!
- Increase membership involvement in activities of the organization. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways including 1) additional email announcements and reminders of luncheon meetings and social events 2) recruiting more volunteers to assist with technology at meetings, and 3) recruiting additional members to help maintain and update the website and track luncheon meeting registrations.
- Continue to help support students through mentoring opportunities, volunteering and donating goods to the Husker Pantry, and continue to assist with other campus activities and services, including volunteering at commencements, ushering at Lied Center events, and other activities.
- Continue to work with the university administration to implement a mechanism to allow surviving spouses of faculty to have temporary access to email accounts in the event of the faculty member’s death or incapacity. This will allow family members time needed to transfer those accounts and their contents to a non-university email system. The University is currently exploring a way to make this happen.
- Increase awareness of the Wisherd Service Awards and the Wisherd Research Scholarly Activity Grant Awards, as well as the number of nominations for each.
There are still many unknowns as we move toward recovery during this pandemic, but we are a vibrant group with a desire and the means to enrich and strengthen the life of our community. With our actions, individually and collectively, we can make a difference in the lives of UNL students, our fellow retirees, and the community at large.
I look forward to working with you during 2022 to advance the mission and priorities of our association and to make a difference in our community.
UNL Emeriti and Retirees Association