The aroma of sizzling green chile cheeseburgers filled the air on May 15 as UNM staff were celebrated for their dedication with a Staff Appreciation Green Chile Cheeseburger Cookout. The event, a collaborative effort between UNM Staff Council, Human Resources, and UNM Leadership, served nearly 1,500 burgers, a testament to the incredible turnout!

The cookout was amazing!” said Sarah Scott, a staff member at UNM Human Resources. “The burgers were delicious, and it was great opportunity to relax and catch up with colleagues and friends from departments all across campus.”

Beyond the delicious food, the cookout offered a chance for staff to unwind with lawn games and exciting raffle prizes, and a chance to explore the stunning UNM Staff as Artists Exhibit in the Zimmerman Library.

“This event was a great opportunity to recognize the contributions of our dedicated staff,” said Kevin Stevenson, vice president for Human Resources. “I’m grateful to Staff Council for their leadership in organizing this event, as well as the support from the President’s and EVP offices in making it a success.”

The cookout was a direct result of feedback from the 2023 Staff Appreciation Events Survey and the 2023 UNM Employee Engagement Survey, which highlighted the need for increased opportunities to recognize the efforts of UNM staff. These surveys, which align with the UNM 2040 strategic framework, help guide UNM in our efforts towards creating a sustainable and supportive work environment. 

Also, a special thank you goes out to UNM Leadership for their collaboration in making this a truly ‘one University’ experience. Familiar faces serving the food to all staff in the outdoor line included Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs James Holloway, Executive Vice President for Health and Health Sciences Doug Ziednois, and Executive Vice President for Finance & Administration Teresa Costantinidis.

The enthusiasm for the cookout was undeniable, with the initial line for burgers stretching from Cornell Mall/Union Square all the way to Johnson Center. A big shoutout goes to the team at UNM Food for their hard work during the event, including opening a second serving line inside the Student Union Building to keep things moving smoothly.

UNM Parking & Transportation Services also deserves recognition for donating the grand raffle prize: one year of free parking. Congratulations to the lucky winner, Dana Ellison!

“UNM Parking & Transportation Services is thrilled to support our dedicated staff by donating a year of free parking,” said Shawn Arruti, director of UNM Parking & Transportation Services. “At UNM PATS, our mission is to support the University's education, research, and service missions by providing access to key programs for faculty, staff, students, and visitors through a variety of parking and transportation services that consider the needs of each customer. This donation is a small token of our appreciation for the hard work and commitment shown by our staff every day.”

In addition to the culinary delights, staff members also had the chance to explore the UNM Staff as Artists Exhibit in the Waters Room at Zimmerman Library. This exhibit provided a wonderful opportunity for staff to showcase their creative talents outside of their work roles.

"This year's Staff Appreciation Green Chile Cheeseburger and (Rude Boy) Cookies Cookout in collaboration with our UNM Leadership was an incredible success, with a wonderful turnout that truly highlighted the spirit of our diverse community,” said Grace Faustino, UNM Staff Council president. “Accompanied by perfect New Mexican weather, the event embraced a true New Mexican theme that was enjoyed by all. Staff are at the core of the success of this institution, and it is an honor to extend a token of appreciation and provide an opportunity for everyone to engage with our leadership. Thank you all for making this year's appreciation a wonderful and enjoyable event and a special gratitude to all the staff who contributed their artistic works, highlighting the diverse talents and creativity within our community."

Looking forward, UNM Staff Council would love to hear your thoughts. Share your experience with Staff Council by filling out the feedback survey to help in planning the next appreciation event.

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