Musical staff

Good atmosphere on campus as the annual all-staff picnic returns

They came for the food – especially the crispy, juicy watermelon and the fresh ice cream. They stayed for friendly furry dogs.

After a two-year hiatus, the UCLA Staff Assembly and Chancellor’s Office pulled out all the stops at the 17th Annual All-Staff Picnic to show their appreciation for the people who keep the day-to-day running of the campus, especially during the pandemic.

Chancellor Gene Block took the microphone, opening with words “borrowed” from Martin Jarmond, director of sports for the Alice and Nahum Lainer family.

“When he talks about the team, he doesn’t just mean the players on the pitch… He means everyone who makes sporting success possible, and it’s the same here for academic success,” said Block, who spent part of the event working at the food distribution station with vice chancellors and deans.

“You are the team, and so I want to thank you deeply for all that you do,” Block said.

Several thousand employees took advantage of temperatures in the mid-70s and were therefore in no rush to leave Dickson Plaza for most of the two-hour event, during which they were able to enjoy local food, games, dancing and therapy dogs courtesy of UCLA Health.

Other highlights include live music from student band Mariachi de Uclatlán, a chance to ring the victory bell, a raffle, and free loot.

“Nice to see you all in person after a two-year break,” said Ana Esquivel, Chair of the Staff Assembly, who asked picnic attendees to join her in a 10-minute moment of silence. seconds to honor loved ones and colleagues who have been negatively affected. by or have lost their lives due to the pandemic.

Block marveled at the size of the picnic, which called for 300 gallons of lemonade and 2,500 pounds of freshly cut watermelon served on large pedestals of ice where it remained cold for staff members to enjoy throughout. long afternoon.

UCLA women’s basketball coach Cori Close also made an appearance to pump up the crowd, tossing rolled up UCLA shirts onto the dance floor and leading everyone in a figure eight before giving it away to members of UCLA Recreation for a dance lesson.

It wouldn’t be a staff picnic without dancing. This year it was the Cupid Shuffle.