March 15, 2021

Tell a colleague, ‘U Make a Difference’

Annual staff appreciation award takes on new meaning during the pandemic
The University of Calgary campus in the summer of 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The University of Calgary campus in the summer of 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Whether working from home or on one of our campuses, University of Calgary staff have performed above and beyond the call of duty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U Make a Difference Award is a chance to say to your colleagues — thank you for a job well done.

It has now been a year since many staff began working from home, and this would have been significantly more challenging without support from colleagues, teams and various services across the university.

While many staff took to Zoom video chats and setting up home offices in their bedrooms, basements and kitchens, many other UCalgary employees needed to continue providing services on-site.

“The ability to remain operational and provide the same level of care has come only because of the dedication, compassion and resilience of the team who stayed on-site as essential workers,” says Melissa Merritt, director of operations for the Sport Medicine Centre.

The pandemic created new and unique circumstances, requiring teams to become creative and innovative in their approaches. Damian Goussis, administrative services supervisor for Facilities, sees a silver lining, with his team being able to showcase their resiliency and continuing to serve the campus community. “While the situation was not the optimal one, we have not missed a beat,” he says. “We spun up a remote Facilities Call Centre overnight, and it has been working very well.”  

Only engaged teams can succeed through these challenges, says Jenny Cruickshank, BCert’19, GDip’20, associate director of Student Services at the Schulich School of Engineering. “We found ourselves serving a student population experiencing these dramatic changes and requiring additional supports,” she says. “The solutions we were working through were immediate, implemented as quickly as they were envisioned, and we were constantly working to keep pace with the needs of our clients.” 

The U Make a Difference Awards celebrate people in the UCalgary workplace who excel at cultivating productive, open and collaborative relationships, something that is particularly important during this challenging time. Award categories are: Collaboration and Communication, Innovation and Curiosity, and Positive Work Environment and Community.

Nominations are open from Monday, March 15, until Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

Do not miss a chance to celebrate your team’s heroes.

Recognition is one of the 13 factors illustrated in the National Standard. The University of Calgary is a recipient of the Excellence Canada Mental Health at Work Silver Level Certification in this area. Visit WellBeing & WorkLife to learn more about workshops, resources and programs.