July 21, 2018 | ° F

Staff Retiree Council in early stages

Started by Richard L. McCormick, organization seeks to help staff

A year before leaving the University, former President Richard L. McCormick established the University Faculty and Staff Retiree Advisory Council to encourage retirees to continue their relationship with the University community.

Now in its second year, the council has several initiatives through the president’s office that will allow University retirees access to campus resources, while also giving them an opportunity to contribute their time and expertise to University organizations and offices.

“What we’re trying to do is create synergy between the retired faculty and staff and the University,” said Gustav Friedrich, chair of the council and former dean of the University’s School of Communication and Information.

The council is seeking to showcase opportunities for University retirees to work with organizations like the Alumni Career Network, a database of University graduates who volunteer to mentor and share their career experiences with students and alumni, according to Career Services’ website.

The council was founded after organizers looked to the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Michigan for models of retiree communities. Members also consulted with retirees from the University for input.

“Retired faculty have said they would like to stay connected with Rutgers, and they feel they have a lot to contribute in their area of expertise or their area of interest,” Friedrich said.

Brent Rubin, a member of the council, said students could benefit from a partnership between the University and its retired faculty.

“What’s important is that it will yield benefits for students as it’s developed,” said Rubin, executive director at the University’s Center for Organizational Development and Leadership.

Though some council members agreed students would benefit from the council’s actions and suggestions for University policy, the council aims to foster interaction between retirees individually and collectively within the University community.

Opportunities for retiree involvement and volunteering are found through the council’s programming subcommittee, headed by Diana Brown, director of the Office of Community Engagement at the School of Environment and Biological Sciences.

Brown has put together a list of 17 University organizations that could provide retirees volunteer opportunities, and she said she is looking for more.

On the list is the University’s Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, where volunteers can give tours, do clerical work, maintain facilities and assist in workshops, according to the reserve’s website.

Another opportunity Brown discovered includes working with Rutgers Against Hunger, a University organization that seeks to raise awareness to combat hunger across the state.

The Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist, headquartered at the University, seeks volunteers to contribute to the mapping of precipitation across the state.

“It was amazing to me that there was so much that was available,” Brown said.

The council adopted a productivity committee to establish a facility where retired faculty and staff members can hold meetings. This committee is also in charge of fundraising, Friedrich said.

The Administrative Services Building on Route 1 near the Cook/Douglass campus will serve as this facility, Friedrich said.

University fundraising has also benefited from retiree involvement. Alumni are encouraged to donate when they see the faces of the faculty they worked with in their time at the University, Friedrich said.

The communication subcommittee seeks to integrate email lists and contact information from retiree organizations across the University, as well as establish a website for retirees that is easily updated with volunteer opportunities, Brown said.

The planning subcommittee ensures that the council’s goals are met. Suggestions from the council should be implemented by next year, Rubin said.

Friedrich said he hopes retiree communities will have a presence on all University campuses.

By Simon Galperin

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