Woman writing thank-you note.

Genesee Johnson uses the Giving Thanks event to write thank-you cards to colleagues.

Photos by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Notes of gratitude, gifts of charity

2 min read

Harvard staff pen letters of appreciation at Giving Thanks event

Thanksgiving may still be two days away, but gratitude filled University Hall as more than 4,000 cards were handwritten during the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ (FAS) Giving Thanks event.

Held last week, the annual event celebrated its 10th year with a steady flow of more than 200 staff circulating in and out of the Faculty Room throughout the day, enjoying homemade cookies and coffee while a pianist played for them.

“There are so many people whom I work collaboratively with, and we typically only communicate over email,” said Angel Velarde, a longtime member of the FAS Administrative Operations team. “It’s nice to be able to sit down and take your time, and send actual letters to people.”

women writing thank-you notes at table.
Nyasha Bovell (left) and Emily Ware, coworkers in the Philosophy Department, write thank-you cards at last week’s Giving Thanks event in University Hall.

In addition to taking a few minutes out of their day to thank colleagues across the University, attendees were also encouraged to bring donations for the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. This year, the event yielded $600 in monetary donations, and in-kind gifts from coats and scarves to food, blankets, and toiletries.

“Once again, we had a wonderful turnout at this year’s Giving Thanks,” said Chris Ciotti, associate dean of human resources for FAS. “Many FAS staff members took time from their day to write notes of appreciation to their colleagues and to donate money and other useful items to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. For this, we are very thankful.”

“It’s a great way to start the holiday season,” Velarde added.

pen and thank-you notes.
The annual event brought in more than 200 staff members and yielded 4,000 notes of thanks.