One score and fourteen years ago, our staff members brought forth on this College a new society – the Pharmacy Staff Representative Group – conceived in need for a voice, and dedicated to proposition that staff are valuable to the organization.
Historical references aside, on that October day in 1987, four staff CoP members were elected to serve in both an internal and external (University) capacity. The group, which is led by an elected chairperson, secretary, and parliamentarian, has grown to include every non-faculty staff member at the College. This committee assists faculty and administration in implementing the University of Georgia mission – “to teach, to serve and to inquire into the nature of things.”
Over the past few years, this gathering has evolved from a time-to-time meeting for announcements and socializing, to a once-monthly schedule with substantive meetings. During the hour-long sessions, the Dean and other key College administrators engage with staff; speakers are brought in from other University units; professional development opportunities are offered; and service projects are discussed, assigned, and completed. However, with the onset of a pandemic, it was more evident than ever that staff needed a “place” to come together. Zoom came to the rescue! For months, when our lives were turned topsy-turvy, staff members had one glorious hour a week to assemble in a space where we could just be – a verb that had long been swallowed by do, help, teach, stop, and wait.
When the school year convened in the fall, albeit in a new hybrid fashion, PSRG continued to meet virtually. Staff members at distance campuses felt more involved than ever by being able to join one of the three PSRG Committees – Service/Hospitality, Staff Awards, and Professional Development. Attendance at meetings reached a high. During one of these meetings, our yearly service project took on a new meaning. Every year, monetary donations and small tokens are collected in the month of December to honor our six custodians. It’s no small statement that 2020 meant something completely different, and our selfless faculty and staff responded in a big way. More than $2400 was raised for our custodial staff – the people who kept the College safe in 2020.
As you can see, PSRG exists as more than just an acronym. Upcoming activities include an event to honor staff members, Microsoft Excel training, and more. As outgoing Chair of this group, I am honored to have served our amazing staff during what I hope was the most challenging year any of us will see in our lifetimes. My passion and hopes for what this group can accomplish should have been muted by the pandemic, but were actually fueled by witnessing the resolve, resiliency, and commitment of my fellow staff members. I look forward to passing the torch to the next staff member and seeing our staff continue to develop and flourish.