FAS staff members Michelle Taylor Hampton (left) and Maura Rizzuto participate in the first Giving Thanks Open House, a three-day event that will allow FAS employees to appreciate one another and contribute to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Giving thanks to each other

3 min read

FAS open house encourages employees to appreciate each other

It’s common to show appreciation for family, friends, and good health come November, but co-workers often get short shrift when it comes to Thanksgiving gratitude. This week, the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is giving its staff the opportunity to celebrate their colleagues just in time for the holidays.

Starting today (Nov. 16), FAS Human Resources is hosting its first Giving Thanks Open House, a three-day event that will allow FAS employees to appreciate one another for the little things they do each day.

FAS staff can acknowledge their bosses, employees, or co-workers by writing personal notes of thanks on blank note cards handed out at the open house. The notes will be delivered by Harvard mail staff throughout the week of Thanksgiving.

The open house will take place today and Thursday (Nov. 18) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Hall Faculty Room. On Wednesday, the reception will be held in the Northwest Science Building, Room 453, for staff housed on the other side of campus. Seasonal refreshments will be provided.

Guests are also encouraged to bring nonperishable food items or a monetary donation to benefit the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. All charitable contributions will be managed by the Community Gifts Through Harvard program, and individual contributors will be acknowledged.

Staff had already begun to mingle on Tuesday morning. Katie Phelan, a trainer in FAS Office of Finance’s Administrative Systems Assistance Program, stopped in to write notes to her close co-workers and “a few people I don’t see very often,” she said. “I’m grateful that not only do they do great work, but they do it with a sense of humor.”

Kean Hsu and Nate Moran, both identity management analysts at FAS Computer Services, dropped in to make donations of food and money and to write letters.

“I’m lucky to have a job where I like my co-workers, I’m appreciated, and I’m actually able to get stuff done, to be productive,” Hsu said. “That’s a rare combination these days.”

Creating holiday traditions like this week’s event helps to strengthen workplace culture at FAS, said Chris Ciotti, associate dean for human resources at FAS. In addition to Giving Thanks, FAS also gave its first Dean’s Distinction Awards earlier this year to honor 50 outstanding employees.

“This event gives us an opportunity to create a new FAS tradition and provides us with a meaningful way to recognize staff and celebrate their contributions to their colleagues,” Ciotti said. “The first FAS Giving Thanks event also provides FAS staff a chance to give back to the community by making a contribution to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.”