Attending: Dan Barmmer, Linda Bowles, Gena Carter, Carolyn Elfland, David Fraley, Karol Kain Gray, Todd Hux, Clair Lorch, Brenda Malone, Jackie Overton, Sarah Poteete, Teresa Stout, Marc ter Horst, Carol Tresolini
Brenda Malone began the meeting at 10 a.m. She welcomed Clair Lorch to speak about the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Lorch described the work of the garden since its founding three years ago to help the lowest wage workers feed their families. She distributed a photo booklet of work that the Garden has done since its inception. She noted that the Garden is located on Wilson Street and Cameron Avenue. She said that 75 people attended the first working days of the Garden. In May 2009 the drip irrigation system was installed. She said that Housekeeping employees have been invited to distribution of over 7600 pounds of vegetables from the Garden. Working days for the Garden take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. She said that in 2011 there were over 300 volunteers for the Garden. The Garden has also become part of the University’s summer bridges program and has become part of a learning laboratory for students. The Garden has developed accessible beds for differently-abled volunteers. The Garden has also developed a logo for t-shirts and a series of cooking demonstrations for employees. Lorch said that the University had been very generous with the use of land and water. She said that the Garden hoped to find funds for a permanent position for the Garden educator. Malone noted the love and pride that people feel about the Garden. Carol Tresolini noted the crucial nature of Lorch’s work for the Garden. Karol Kain Gray asked if the Garden has a business plan. Lorch said that the Garden had worked up a plan. Tresolini said that she planned to make a request on the Garden’s behalf as she viewed the Garden as a University responsibility. Jackie Overton noted that the temporary nature of the Garden educator position means that person must rotate off for 31 days a year. Lorch said that the Garden is willing to fundraise for the rest of the needed money. Malone said that there might be interest in the Garden for the CUPA Human Resources awards. Overton said that the Forum feels that the Garden is central to the public service mission of the University.
Linda Bowles and Teresa Stout were invited to speak on the subject of employee payroll deduction to purchase at the Health Care System’s gift shop without cash payments. Stout noted the program began in 2002, leading to 9% sales growth in the first year. Funds for purchases come out of the next pay period up to $25 with a cap of $350. She said that only permanent full- and part-time employees of the HCS are eligible for the program, not temporaries. She said that employees sign a document upon entering the program that they realize that purchases could come from their final paycheck. Only a few do not fulfill their obligation. She noted that a number of University employees near the HCS are distressed that they cannot use the HCS system. She had spoken with University Payroll which had indicated that the system was not available to University employees. Stout said that HCS employees plan for sales at the gift shop with payments through payroll deduction. Overton noted that a couple of University employees work side-by-side with HCS employees who can use this system. Carolyn Elfland noted that it is illegal to use OneCards for this purpose due to the Umstead Act. Gray asked if there were a credit card option for the HCS plan. Bowles said that HCS employees do not bring credit cards or cash for the payroll deduction plan. Instead, gift shop employees check identification and allow purchasing via payroll deduction. She related the story of HCS employees who use the program to purchase food that they cannot afford from the HCS cafeteria. Other HCS employees use the payroll deduction plan to buy things that they could not afford to pay at once at “Big Box” electronics stores. Elfland noted that gift shop purchases are used to raise money for Hospital patients and family members. She understood that the University payroll system could not accommodate payroll deductions from HCS as she had been told there was no room for a line item for this purpose. Gray proposed that the University ask about the possibilities given the reforms underway with the changeover from FRS to PeopleSoft. Teresa Stout described the accounting procedures necessary to place these purchases on one line item. Bowles noted that a voluntary association accepts requests for funding adding that the gift shop could fund the Campus Community Garden, for example. Gray asked if the University can do this project. Stout said that employees’ PID numbers could be used in the HCS payroll deduction system. Malone said that the benefits on their face could be evident for those preferring installment purchases. Bowles pointed out that University employees purchase glasses from the HCS Eye Clinic through payroll deduction in addition to Carolina Care at Home purchases. Malone said that the University would do a cost-benefit analysis on the subject.
Dan Barmmer asked about the possibilities of reducing paper waste on campus. He said that he had raised the questions many times since he had come to campus ten years ago. He was disheartened to find that many University Gazettes are thrown away in his office. He had found that he could opt out of receiving the University Gazette. He wondered how to get this information out to the campus as a whole. He also noted packets from Student Stores and Human Resources could be reduced or replicated on-line. Malone said that not everyone has access to a computer or the time to read on a computer during the work day. Elfland thought that the University has done a lot to reduce paper usage by placing the business, Human Resources, and the Emergency Health Services manuals on-line in recent years. Departments fund these initiatives from their individual budgets. She noted that many Facilities Services employees do not have access to computers. Todd Hux asked if there were an opt-out option for employees. Barmmer thought that employees should have to opt-in to receive documents in an effort to reduce paper use. Malone noted an institutional obligation to make sure employees have certain information, saying that lack of information can create problems. She said that she could not sit in front of a computer all night. Overton proposed that the Forum touch on this subject in the next issue of InTouch. Malone granted that some places need to tighten up in their paper use. However, she proposed that the University publicize its progress in reducing paper use.
Overton noted that the Housekeeping director search had narrowed down to three candidates. She said that the search committee wants people involved in the process and needs feedback. She said that the Forum’s 20th anniversary event will take place March 7. Invitations have gone out but there has not yet been a great response. She asked employees to RSVP as soon as possible. Malone noted plans to remind deans, directors, and department heads to allow employees to attend the event if possible. There was a question as to whether members of the Forum Executive Committee must wear uniforms to the March 7 event. The meeting adjourned at 11:04 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary