Helping Out


Giving, Not Taking, One for the TEAM

Facility Services’ social and charitable arm pulls together for the benefit of others

Anyone who comes onto the UWSP campus bears witness to work undertaken by Facility Services. From impeccable landscaping over warmer months and snow-free roads and sidewalks in winter, to tidy interiors and room set-ups that help put the “special” in special events, this department gets the job done. What may not be as readily apparent is what this cohesive unit has accomplished under the auspices of TEAM. Organized in 2012, TEAM is a group of Facility Services employees who organize department-wide social events, outings and fundraisers.

“The idea behind TEAM is to establish and build good relationships with fellow coworkers, and to foster a cohesive community,” says Darcy Loomis, Facility Services information systems senior business analyst and current TEAM chairperson.

Loomis notes with pride that the organization is run “by the staff, for the staff.” The TEAM committee organizes free or inexpensive outings that are fun and bring members of the department together. Each and every Facilities Services staffer is encouraged to suggest social gatherings and outings that they think their coworkers will enjoy. Activities include group dinners, on-campus scavenger hunts, after-work pick-up volleyball and attending a Brewers game. “In the past, polar plunges have been a fun way for people to interact on a cold Wisconsin Saturday morning,” says Loomis.

Yet there is more to TEAM than simply having fun. Since its inception, the group has made a point of including philanthropy in its list of offerings. Past recipients of TEAM’s generosity include the Humane Society of Portage County and the university itself. The most consistent beneficiary of the group’s efforts is also the longest-lived. Twice a year—once each fall and spring semester—TEAM donates cash and canned goods to UWSP’s The Cupboard.

The Cupboard provides emergency and supplemental food to all current UWSP students. According to the Cupboard website:

Thousands of students receive need-based financial aid and hundreds are enrolled in food assistance and WIC programs. Many more students encounter short-term financial emergencies and find themselves choosing between buying food and paying other bills. The Cupboard was created to help students meet their basic needs so that they can focus on succeeding in school.

The pantry depends on food and cash donations from a number of sources to keep its shelves stocked. Consequently, TEAM’s annual efforts are quite welcome, indeed.

“The idea for the Cupboard donation started with a bake sale in Fall 2012,” Loomis says. Strategically placed among the many homemade carbohydrate delights was a festively decorated donation can, where patrons could conveniently deposit any change they received after making their purchases.

TEAM committee members doubled down on efforts to support The Cupboard by stationing boxes near the baked goods table for the collection of canned goods and other staples. Flyers advertising the sale urged facilities staffers to bring in donated items that could be dropped off as they picked up their goodies.

The strategy was so successful, TEAM has decided not to stray too far from the original concept. True to its roots, the group continues to sell baked goods as a way to drum up cash donations. The well-received bake sales have proven successful year after year. “After all,” says Loomis, “who doesn’t love homemade bakery, right? Those are always a hit!”

Donation boxes are still part of the plan as well, although their role has been expanded. They have popped up in break rooms throughout the year in addition to their appearance at bake-sale tables each semester. According to Loomis, TEAM has collected more than $930 in cash and approximately 1,280 lbs. of food to date.

As hoped, the philanthropic component of TEAM has been just as effective as a teambuilding exercise as the group’s social events and outings.

“It feels good to give and to get to know one another better along the way,” Loomis says. “There is no doubt that Facility Services has become a closer group of employees because of TEAM, and every year we continue to improve it.”