Wesleyan Encourages Faculty, Staff to Give During Middlesex United Way Campaign


Roseann Sillasen, associate director and project manager of Physical Plant-Facilities, and Tracy Mehr-Muska, university Protestant chaplain, paint on the sidewalk at Farm Hill School during United Way’s Day of Caring, Oct. 3, 2012.

This fall, in the lead-up to Thanksgiving, Wesleyan employees are encouraged to participate in the university’s annual fundraising campaign to support the Middlesex United Way.

The university’s goal this year is $130,000 in donations and 50 percent participation. Department representatives have already distributed informational packets and pledge forms to faculty and staff. Forms must be returned by Nov. 20.

The Middlesex United Way supports agencies in 15 cities and towns.

The Middlesex United Way supports agencies in 15 cities and towns.

In an email to the campus community, President Michael Roth wrote, “When you give to Middlesex United Way, your dollars stay local. United Way’s local volunteers distribute your dollars to help neighbors in need—neighbors such as 60 Middletown families at risk of homelessness who remained in their homes thanks to one-time assistance through the Middlesex County Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Prevention Fund. Our dollars have helped the Women & Families Center’s Sexual Assault Crisis Services support more than 800 people, and have contributed to school readiness programs for young children in all 15 towns in Middlesex County.”

Speaking to why he personally supports the Middlesex United Way, this year’s campaign chair Gloster Aaron, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, said, “If you think you have the one answer that can solve the problems in the community, then you have the wrong answer because the problems of individuals and communities are complex. Food assistance, mental health services, housing programs, women and children programs— all are important for the healthy community that benefits every one of us. While I provide strong support for my favorite non-profit in the area, I have to admit that there are many services that I don’t support directly that might be among the most critical for 2014-15. By supporting the United Way, I know that I’m helping to provide coverage for all areas of need in the coming year.”

To increase Wesleyan’s overall contribution to the Middlesex United Way this year, there will be an online auction available through 5 p.m. Nov. 18. Faculty and staff can access the auction through their online portfolios, under Tools and Links, and can bid on items such as restaurant and hotel gift certificates, a golf foursome, and a consultation with author Amy Bloom.

In addition, Wesleyan will offer an iPad Mini as a raffle prize for first-time donors, donors with increased pledges, and donors in departments who increase participation.

“Every dollar counts, so whether you can give a dollar a day, a dollar a week or a dollar a month, we’re grateful for all participation and support for the local community,” said Campaign Coordinator Cathy Lechowicz, director of the Center for Community Partnerships.