Benefits specialist Merari Valencia (middle) delivers boxes of school supplies to Principal Curtis Brower (left) and psychologist and counselor Robin Edwards (right) at Powell Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh.
For Stephanie Davis, University Human Resources’ annual school supply drive is about two things: giving back and team building.
UHR staff divided into two teams last month and encouraged co-workers to make donations to the supply drive. UHR donated four large boxes of supplies, including pencils, crayons, erasers, notebooks, dry-erase markers and folders, to Powell Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh.
The supply drive is an example of how NC State wants its faculty and staff to connect with and contribute to their local communities. Community is one of the university’s six elements of wellness, which are part of a strategy that encourages our faculty and staff to take a holistic approach to achieve overall wellness.
“This is HR exemplifying think and do to help our community,” said Davis, a senior consultant on the Learning and Organizational Development team in UHR. “If we are going to have employee success and engagement, we should be engaged in the NC State community and the larger Raleigh community.”
Curtis Brower, the principal at Powell Magnet Elementary, commended UHR for its efforts.
“It’s really great for a small school like ours that has a small budget,” he said. “Supplies sometimes can be difficult to get. It’s great that we have support from the outside to get teachers all the things they need in their classrooms to be successful.”
Davis said she likes that NC State encourages faculty and staff to give back to their communities because it can help with team building.
“All teams need to get out of their office or get out of their workplace sometimes and just do something different,” she said. “It kind of pulls the team together.”
In Davis’ role as a consultant, she helps to facilitate UHR’s Management Essentials, a professional development course for nonfaculty managers and supervisors at NC State. She said she encourages course attendees to participate in a community service project with their teams.
“We tell our managers there are many benefits to supporting your employees’ well-being,” Davis said.
She said supply drives and similar community service projects can be especially useful as team-building exercises when everyone in a unit, office or department can be involved in the effort.
“It energizes you when you get back to work because you have kind of had a break, and you feel more connected as a team,” Davis said. “It can actually lead to higher productivity and engagement. Team dynamics just seem to improve.”