Giving thanks

November 20th, 2013


Cup of good cheer: D1 Briana Burris pours sparkling grape juice for staff members Cindy Copeland and Steve Bobalik.

Expanding on their 2012 event, students treat staff members to a lunchtime feast.

Just one week before families and friends dive into the customary Thanksgiving Day spread, students at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry threw their own version of the celebratory meal. On Nov. 20, student organizations throughout the school hosted an appreciation luncheon — and dinner for late-shift employees — for staff members who are directly involved in their everyday campus activities.

“The great working relationship we have with these staff members makes it possible for us to treat our patients to the level we want,” says D3 Niekia Franklin, vice president of the college chapter of the Student National Dental Association, which organized the luncheon. “We realized how invaluable these staff members are to our everyday success — taking the extra steps to teach us, greet us with cheer and patiently help us out when we make mistakes.”

In addition to the environment01connections-lunch-2al services, facilities and security staff who were honored last year, students extended the invitation to dispensary and lab technicians, dental assistants, patient appointment associates and service coordinators, as well as staff in social services, clinical affairs, diagnostic sciences and the Baylor Health Sciences Library.

The event, dubbed GRACE — “Gathering Respectfully to Appreciate Compassionate Employees” — included a keepsake for each attendee: a coffee mug embellished with the acronym. The mug included a list of all the organizations that contributed through monetary donations and volunteer time, the Baylor College of Dentistry Alumni Association among them.

“The overwhelming involvement in this event by almost every student organization on campus is a testament to the appreciation the student body as a whole has for these staff members,” says Franklin.

— Jennifer Fuentes