Geiger Staff Pop-Up Awards Support Community

“Over the last few years I have seen how creative Marlboro students are in their approach to the Geiger Pop-Up Awards, and I wanted to channel that inspiration and engagement,” said Hillary Twining, director of corporate and foundation relations. She was referring, of course, to the $1000 awards generously sponsored by Harvey and Pam Geiger for deserving students to “let their imaginations run wild.” This spring the Geigers added support for similar pop-up awards among staff, prompting an inspiring and engaging diversity of ideas.

“Employee recognition is so important in creating job satisfaction and building a positive workplace culture,” said Hillary, who was one of five staff members whose ideas were chosen by the President’s Advisory Committee on Staff Experience (PACSE) in April. She proposed the purchase of $25 Amazon gift cards, 20 of them, for members of the senior team to present to deserving staff members for jobs well done. “I also like the idea that the senior team, which often gets tasked with sorting out difficult, unpopular issues, will have the opportunity to reward great work by staff members and publicly recognize them. And who doesn’t want a $25 Amazon gift card?”

Other staff proposals are more specific to the departments in which they work, such as Director of Financial Aid Cathy Fuller who requested professional training for her office to keep abreast of ever-changing federal regulations. Kate Trzaskos, director of experiential learning and career development, will use her award to create a “dress for success” lending library of professional attire for students who are interviewing, going to networking events, or attending conferences.

“I plan to use a Geiger Pop-Up Staff Award to host an American Canoe Association course for Bridges leaders and Outdoor Program staff to hone the instruction, risk-assessment, and rescue skills necessary to leading canoe trips,” said Liza Mitrofanova ’15, Bridges program director. “Vermont and greater New England are rich in lakes and rivers, and this training will allow the OP to continue to provide our community with access to these natural resources through the graceful glide of the canoe.”

Tanya Bernard, assistant to the registrar, will use her award for small patio gardens on the porches of Mather, filled with flowers, herbs, and vegetables. “I think my idea will not only brighten the area around Mather, but will provide a place where those who enjoy plants and gardening can go to weed, snack, or just enjoy the sights and smells of the container gardens,” said Tanya. “I also feel plants are a welcoming sight to visitors. It shows that people here care about where they work, and are proud and excited to be here.”

“I really appreciate the Geigers’ desire to support Marlboro staff,” said Hillary. “The opportunity to get funding for these creative ideas in the amount of $1,000 is a big deal, especially when budgets are so tight.”