Purple ornaments imprinted with the Catamount logo are being sold for $10 each at Catamount Clothing & Gifts as a Western Carolina University Staff Senate fundraiser, and are the first decorations in what senate members hope will become a collectible series. Proceeds from the sale of the ornaments benefit the Staff Senate’s scholarship fund for family of WCU nonfaculty employees and for an employee emergency assistance fund. “Our hope is that it will become a tradition to purchase a WCU ornament each year,” said Brenda Holcombe ’94, who served as chair of WCU’s Staff Senate from 2009-10 and is a student services specialist in the Office of Financial Aid.
The ornament fundraiser idea took shape after Holcombe heard the Staff Senate chair from the University of North Carolina Wilmington talk about a similar initiative. “The more I thought about it, I could really see the potential of what I would call a collector’s series of ornaments that, once established, could provide an ongoing source of funds for Staff Senate initiatives,” said Holcombe. She realized ornaments could appeal to a wide audience – students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents of current and former students, and friends of the university. In addition, the designs possible for future ornaments were endless – different sizes, shapes, styles and colors, and could feature campus buildings past and present or commemorate significant events.
To launch the fundraiser, Staff Senate members raised more than $350 for start-up costs through participating in an indoor yard sale at Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Meanwhile, Tammy Frizzell ’00 MA ’04, past Staff Senate secretary and orientation programs assistant, worked on a profit-sharing agreement that enabled the ornaments to be marketed and sold at the store on campus.
Part of the mission is to grow the scholarship fund enough to be able to offer two $1,000 scholarships each year or a larger number of scholarships, said William Frady ’99 MAEd ’05, immediate past chair of Staff Senate and manager of instructional and student computing. The scholarship was bestowed for the first time in 2007. In 2011, the Staff Senate was able to give scholarships of more than $900 each to Kristen Arrington, niece of David Onder from the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness, and to Adam Ray, son of Chris Ray from facilities management. Arrington is a junior from Waynesville majoring in elementary education with a concentration in history. She also serves as an English tutor at WCU. Ray is a junior from Cullowhee double-majoring in education and history and works as a resident assistant at WCU. He is a participant in the Teaching Fellows program.