University of Vermont

A Note from Staff Council President Karmen Swim

Happy Holidays!

It certainly has been a very exciting and busy semester – a heartfelt THANK YOU to the UVM staff for everything you contribute to make the UVM community a better place! 

Staff Council’s Annual Holiday Bazaar & Food Drive is Wednesday, December 7, from 9 am – 3 pm in the Davis Center Grand Maple Ballroom.  This is an amazing event where we feature local crafts, art, jewelry, delicious baked goods and so much more.  We have a lot of raffle prizes to give away, also.  To receive a free raffle ticket, please bring a non-perishable food item with you to donate.  A lot of time and energy is put into this event.  We hope you can find time to visit and do some holiday shopping.  The Bazaar is both our biggest fundraiser and our biggest community service event of the year, and we so appreciate your help supporting Staff Council and the Chittenden County Food Shelf.

One of Staff Council’s initiatives is wellness. As a member of the Wellness Council, I want you to please complete the Health Assessment if you haven’t already done so (10-15 minutes), and also I encourage you to check out the new Wellness Portal available online.  When you fill out the assessment, you are entered into a drawing where you can win very cool prizes (such as Fitbits, $100 SkiRack gift cards, Amazon gift cards, exercise equipment & more).  

If you have already filled out the assessment, did you know that when your dependents fill the assessment out, it counts toward our UVM goal of 1,750 completed by December 15, 2016? We currently need 600 more to make that goal. So, please ask them to fill the assessment out to help us reach our goal!

WHEN (optimist) we make that goal, we WILL unlock additional free money ($32,000) from BlueCross/BlueShield to be used for wellness initiatives here at UVM – we’ll also receive wellness money from BlueCross/BlueShield for each year moving forward, without having to do the assessments again! We can do this…but we need your help to get there! 

We are currently continuing our efforts on the performance review process, merit raise procedures, as well as drafting a correspondence to senior leadership around the FY18 yearly salary staff increases.   We will also be focusing our efforts on some focus groups to hear more of your concerns, so please look for more information on this.  We are also working on other exciting staff-related initiatives, so please stay tuned …when we can share more, we will! 

It certainly is an exciting time to be part of Staff Council.  If you want to get involved, please reach out.  We have a few representative positions open (including CEMS, HRDMA, Student Affairs and University Relations). If you’re curious, get in touch with the Staff Council Office to learn more.

Soon the Winter Solstice and the holiday season will be upon us … both can bring joy, but sometimes can also bring hectic times and stress.  We hope you can each use the holiday break that the University gives us to spend time with those you love and do things that make you happy and rejuvenate yourselves to take on 2017!  Please let us also remember that holidays can be a very tough time of year for people.  If it’s comfortable for you to do so, please be sure to check on your neighbors and friends and keep your eyes, ears and heart open for anyone in our community who may be in need. Also, if it’s you who are in need, remember that our door (Waterman 313) is always open.

This time of year I do a lot of self-reflection.  I want to take a moment to appreciate and say thank you to:

  • Staff Council Representatives and Administrative Leaders who have committed their time and energy to represent your colleges and units, and who continue to work toward a better working experience at The University of Vermont
  • Staff who have reached out with comments, concerns and words of appreciation
  • Guest speakers who attended our monthly meetings helping Staff Council learn about what they do and about services available at the University
  • Colleges, units and departments who have reached out wanting to collaborate with Staff Council
  • Senior leadership for allowing Staff Council to advise and advocate for change, and for having open and honest communication

We all want the same thing -- to continue to make the University a place where we help to create and foster an environment where we can discover and reach our true potentials. 

We hope your holidays will be filled with joy and laughter through the New Year,


Karmen Swim, Staff Council President