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  September 29, 2003

Charitable Campaign Begins This Week

Maria Sedotti and Joyce Borkowski are poised to do something that has never been done at UConn - convince more than 1,200 employees to contribute to the annual Connecticut State Employees Charitable Campaign (CSECC).

"I really want to continue the trend of increasing the number of donors to the campaign," says Sedotti, coordinator of orientation services in Storrs. "I'd like to see one-third of our faculty and staff pitch in, even if it's only $1 a pay period. That's a really small amount when you look at the bigger picture, and it can help so many people."

Workers at both the Storrs campus and the Health Center set records during last year's charitable campaign. At Storrs, 700 people donated a total of more than $135,000, both records. And at the Health Center, 248 people contributed almost $70,000, a 22 percent increase in the amount raised compared to a year earlier. Still, this year's campaign coordinators insist, there's plenty of room for improvement.

"It was really gratifying to see the numbers last year," says Borkowski, an administrative manager in human resources, who has headed the Health Center's campaign for four years. "There are more than 900 organizations people can contribute to - including dozens of health-related groups that do research or provide direct support to people suffering from crippling diseases - and I have to believe everybody can find some cause they think is worthwhile."

Sedotti says the campaign at Storrs will include a drawing, open to anybody on campus regardless of whether they contribute. Their pledge card, she says, is their ticket for entry. Prizes will include the ever-popular free parking space for a year, tickets to men's and women's basketball games and to a Huskies football game at Rentschler Field, autographed basketballs, grinders, and free lunches.

Borkowski has planned a series of attention grabbing events for the one-month campaign, which officially begins Oct. 1. And she's starting at home, offering a year of dress-down Fridays for any employees in her department who contribute to the campaign through payroll deduction.

"If we can get 100 percent participation here, that would send a message to other Health Center staff that this is something important," she says. Her campaign also will include bake sales, candy sales, and theme basket events. Some other departments are sponsoring luncheons to draw interest in the campaign and encourage donations.

In Storrs, Sedotti is leading a kick-off luncheon today for the dozens of departmental volunteers that are vital to the success of the campaign. Borkowski is planning a kick-off event in Keller Auditorium on Oct. 2.

"The volunteers are really the people that make this go," Sedotti says. "Without their help, we'd be fighting an uphill battle."

Packages containing pledge cards and booklets listing the more than 900 charitable organizations to which people may contribute should be delivered within a week. The campaign ends Nov. 7.