Spirit poses with Library Director, Cristie Ferguson during his introduction at the faculty and staff convocation.
Spirit, Panola College’s pint-size pony, has been traveling all over campus to bring awareness to Panola’s 2018 employee campaign, Searching for Spirit. Spirit helped the employees find their spirit of giving by visiting different departments, classrooms, and even making appearances out in the community. Spirit’s various adventures could be found on the College’s social media sites each day.
Students in the occupational therapy assistant program showed Spirit around their lab.
Each year, Panola College employees participate in a campaign during the first six weeks of the fall semester to help raise funds for student scholarships, athletics, fine arts, the Panola College Foundation, and any other program at the College that is important to them. The Employee Campaign began four years ago and has continued to grow each year.
“The employee campaign reminds us to give back. It’s fun, and it’s what we are supposed to do,” says Don Clinton, Vice President of Student Services. “We put a lot of time, effort, and money into all of our hobbies, our churches, our families, and we should do the same with our job to make it a better working environment and to help others. It’s what it is all about.”
This year the Panola College employee campaign raised over $19,000 in just a little over a month. Employees designated the largest portion to the Panola College Foundation, followed closely by a scholarship fund created specifically by the faculty and staff at the College to support students financially. Academic programs, fine arts, and athletic teams also received donations during the campaign.
Spirit enjoyed lunch at Panola College Café with Professor Brian Naples.
While the amount the employees raised is impressive and generous, it is not the what Panola College considers the biggest triumph of the campaign. Jessica Pace, Director of Institutional Advancement, says it is really the percentage of participation in the campaign that shows real success.
“The percentage of participation is what we believe makes the largest statement. The number of participants we have in the employee campaign shows that the employees at the College truly care about the students that attend Panola and want to see students reach their goals. Employees want to see each student succeed, so giving back to support them seems fitting.”
Panola College’s 2018 employee campaign boasted a 67% participation rate, up from 60% in 2017. To make the campaign a little more exciting, each year the executive council at Panola College challenges employees to reach a certain goal. This campaign the goal was set at a 65% participation rate. Employees not only reached the goal but surpassed it. As a thank you and in the spirit of service, the executive council helped serve lunch at the annual Fall Frolic for the students, faculty, and staff.
“The employee campaign creates an atmosphere of giving, and it creates this atmosphere in a fun and exciting way,” said Sarah Bush, mathematics professor. “You want to give out of compassion. You feel a need and you want to meet that need. Sometimes you have to give because of that spirit that is in you to give.”
Reanna Hart, Panola College recruiter, shared her opinion about why she participated each year in the employee campaign.
“It’s kind of fun and competitive in one sense, but you also get to see what your giving does for other people. You get to see students when they come to Panola, and you get to see how the money is used so they can take classes and continue their education. These students may not have been able to complete those classes if the employees at Panola didn’t give.”
The employee campaign may only take place a few weeks out of the year, but the spirit of giving can be found daily at Panola College.
Dr. Greg Powell serves lunch to Professor Jennifer Coon at the annual Fall Frolic to show his appreciation to the faculty and staff for their participation in the employee campaign.
“I see examples of the spirit of giving all around campus. Whether it is the millions of dollars given to scholarships, Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center, the clock tower, the Spirit of Panola fountain, it can be seen everywhere,” says Greg Powell, President of Panola College. “The employee campaign is a great opportunity for the faculty and staff to give back to areas that are most important to them, and it demonstrates the family atmosphere that can be readily found at Panola College.”