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September 2000

The EAC is serious about fun

Meet the EAC: (clockwise from top left) Cheryl Cristanelli, Jennifer DeLaurent, Lesley Smith, Megan Donnelly, Tina Arthur, Sean Burns, Doug Lindholm, Craig Hartsough, Katy Beierle, and Wendy Abshire. Not pictured: Karla Edwards. (Photo by Bob Henson.)

Given the scope of their best-known bashes, you might think the Employee Activities Committee was packed with dozens of employees working full time to keep the rest of us socialized, well fed, and amused.

Welcome to the real EAC: a small group doing big things on tight deadlines. The EAC emerged this year from a slump brought on by low membership and a flat budget. New blood has led to some creative initiatives, including more outdoor activities (see page 12). To keep the momentum going, the group is still looking for new members. EAC chair Lesley Smith (ACD) says all that's required is enthusiasm, although a slightly warped sense of humor doesn't hurt.

"The EAC is unlike most other committees," notes co-chair Craig Hartsough (HAO). "We don't adopt new requirements for the employees or plan [science] budgets and deadlines. Our task is to provide a complementary set of experiences that employees can enjoy according to their interests. That makes for a different mood for the committee, where we can be very relaxed and creative in finding ways to help make NCAR and UCAR a more pleasant place to work."

UCAR policy 1-1-13 designates the EAC as our main vehicle for providing recreational activities for staff and calls for a group of at least 20 members, with at least one representative nominated by each division and program. Right now the group has just 13 members to orchestrate all its activities and stay on top of what staff would like.

"With 13 members to serve over 1,000 employees, that's about an 80-to-1 ratio," says Craig. "We thought about giving each member the committee a list of 80 names, and sending them door to door to check on their employees individually, but that seemed a little excessive. Instead, we try to coordinate events that will appeal to the largest groups possible. Hopefully we have a selection that every employee can make use of."

The EAC's threefold charter includes:

The most time and energy go to the first of the three goals, putting on events. The major ones will be familiar to long-time staff: the Spring Fling in May, the Up-the-Hill Race (see sidebar) in September, and both the staff and children's holiday parties in December. Each event is chaired by an EAC member, who arranges for the volunteers needed. These can be numerous: the hill race, for instance, needs 10 to 15 volunteers from within and beyond the EAC just to keep the participants organized and timed as they reach the finish line.

Many EAC functions are year-round. For example, discounts chair Cheryl Cristanelli (HR) is putting together a growing set of money-saving offers. The full list can be viewed on the EAC Web site. You can save on cellular phone service, visits to Six Flags Elitch Gardens, movie tickets from United Artists and Mann Theatres, tuition at the Sylvan Learning Center, and memberships at public and private fitness centers in the Boulder area. Got an idea for another discount? Contact Cheryl at ext. 8708, cherylc@ucar.edu.

Last year the EAC was at a low point in both membership and morale. "The committee hadn't had a budget increase for a number of years. We were really scraping to get events funded," says Lesley. With the leadership of then-chair Joan Chiszar (MMM) and the support of UCAR management, the group secured an increase in base funding (see the related Delphi Question on page X) and pulled together several energetic new members, including Cheryl, Wendy Abshire (COMET), Tina Arthur (GST), Jennifer DeLaurant (SCD), Katy Beierle (ATD), Megan Donnelly (MMM), Sean Burns (MMM), and Doug Lindholm (RAP). "Joan was the one who resurrected the EAC," Lesley says. "She did a great job."

The ongoing time required of EAC members isn't enormous: one 90- minute meeting a month. "The big commitment comes when you chair a particular event. With such a small committee, people have to wear more than one hat," Lesley notes. "If the group were larger, we'd have less work for each member."

You can keep up on EAC activities through the announcements section of This Week at UCAR and through the EAC home page. If you'd like to join, contact Lesley or Craig or send e-mail to the EAC alias (eac-members@ucar.edu). Members typically serve two-year terms.

"Every UCAR employee has an inner child, waiting to be awakened," says Craig. "For those whose inner child does awaken, we stick them on the EAC."

• BH

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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Sep 7 14:59:51 MDT 2000