Civil Service Celebration

On August 10, NIU administrators and civil service staff came together for the 19th annual Civil Service Celebration (formerly known as StaffFest). This event is a thank you to all operating staff for their hard work over the course of the year, giving them an opportunity to relax, eat, and laugh together. It is also a chance for the Operating Staff Council (OSC) to raise money for the Operating Staff Dependent Scholarship.

Administrators lined up to be submerged in a dunk tank or have a pie thrown at them by NIU employees and students, raising $350 for the dependent scholarship. Acting President Lisa Freeman enthusiastically kicked off the dunk tank, showing her earnest support for staff and the students who benefit from the scholarship. Many people were involved in this effort including NIU Board of Trustees members, deans, the provost, chief diversity officer and SPS and civil service staff who made attempts to dunk or throw a pie. The whipped cream for the pies was donated by OSC and Administrative Professionals Advisory Committee (APAC) members, and the leftover cans were given to the Sycamore Methodist Food Pantry.

Civil service staff also contributed a total of $330 to the dependent scholarship via the 50/50 raffle. Jason John, police sergeant for NIU’s Department of Police and Public Safety, was the winner of the raffle and generously donated his portion back to the scholarship fund.

Barb Andree, president of OSC and Jerry Blazey, vice president of Research and Innovation partnerships greeted staff as they entered the event, and Wheeler Coleman and Dennis Barsema, chair and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, participated in the celebration as well.

Over 600 civil service employees enjoyed hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and cookies and a chance to relax and get to know their colleagues. The outdoor events were livestreamed, thanks to DoIT’s multimedia production team who donated their time and equipment, into the Duke Ellington Ballroom so people could enjoy the entertainment from any vantage point.

Students also had a role in this year’s CSC. The planning committee was able to gather testimonials from students about how civil service staff have impacted their lives, giving even more meaning to the work civil service do to further the mission of NIU.

Dunk tank participants included:

  • Lisa Freeman, acting president
  • Thomas Phillips, chief of police
  • Paul Kassel, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Matt Streb, chief of staff
  • Matt Parks, senior director for IT Infrastructure
  • Eric Biletzky, information services manager
  • Phil Manno, carpenter

Pie toss participants included:

  • Logan Halstead, Building Services foreman
  • Gerald Keating, traffic manager
  • Tammie Pulak, Building Services supervisor
  • Matt Volk, director of Outreach Conference Services
  • Andrew Bjerken, associate vice president and chief information security officer
  • Nick Myers, HSC waiter

Civil Service Celebration is planned and staffed by the OSC, Administrative Professionals Advisory Committee (APAC), and additional civil service employees. This year’s planning committee included Nancy Brown (chair), Pamela Pittman, Pat Wielert, Vicki Wronkowski, Candy Buie, Cindy Kozumplik, Angie Gutierrez-Vargas, Sarah Lindell and Karen Smith. The committee worked tirelessly to make the event a success. If you would like to get involved with planning next year’s celebration, please contact Frances Mitchell at fmitchell@niu.edu