Tour art galleries, learn about the history of nursing, visit a geology museum, attend free arts events, cheer on the soccer team, borrow a book, plant a garden, get help with hearing loss, get a discount on your cell phone plan, do a little stargazing…
These are just a few of the perks of being part of the UWM community. However, many employees aren’t aware of these opportunities, so the Best Place to Work (BP2W) team formed a committee to compile a list of “hidden gems.”
The group quickly changed its name to the Gems Committee. “Our goal is to ‘un-hide’ these gems,” says Ellen Friebert Schupper, director of marketing and community relations for the Peck School of the Arts, who leads the team. “These are gems that are on campus that many people don’t know exist.” Other members of the team are Jill Hildenbrand, Steve Burnham, Karen Beres and Joey Zafra, with guidance from Mark Mielenz of Human Resources.
One of the committee’s first goals was to compile a list of opportunities that are on or convenient to the campus. Some are free, some are open to the public and a few involve discounts offered by local businesses.
One of Schupper’s personal favorites is the College for Kids program, which her child has attended for the past three summers. “As a working parent, I really like the opportunity to have my son come to campus with me for a week or two. He loves going to college, and I appreciate getting to enjoy some extra time together, especially over lunch.”
“My favorite gem on campus is definitely the health and wellness programs offered,” says Beres. “I participate in multiple programs, this fall four days a week. Not only do I know it’s healthy for me to exercise but it’s convenient, a low cost, and a great environment to do it with a variety of employees cross-campus and great instructors.”
“I may be biased – I work in the UWM Libraries – but my favorite UWM employee gem is the ability to check out materials from the Libraries’ vast, varied and wonderful collection. Over 2 million books, 7,200 DVDs and 12,000 CDs,” says Burnham.
“I especially love the many beautiful books on contemporary art and architecture, and my whole family enjoys the great collection of old and new films.”
Among other gems:
- 350+ theater, dance and music performances, film screenings and art exhibitions every year – most free or discounted.
- Thomas A. Greene Geological Museum in the Department of Geosciences.
- Center for Nursing History, located in the College of Nursing.
- Campus garden plots in the summer.
- Community Audiology Services in the College of Health Sciences.
- Manfred Olson Planetarium with AstroBreaks over the lunch hour, Friday night shows and special events.
- Soccer and other Panther athletic events.
- Genealogy services through the UWM Libraries.
- Four art galleries (The galleries are planning a joint event Nov. 21 to encourage more campus community members to stop in.)
The Gems Committee is in the process of adding to its list, setting up guidelines for discounts from local businesses and working on ways to promote UWM Gems.