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Mary Hale knows a thing or two about connections, having served as the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s administrative telecommunications specialist for years.

But Hale knows it can be difficult for dedicated employees even a building or two away from one another in a large organization to have an opportunity to meet face to face.

Enter Classified Staff Development and Appreciation Day at UW Oshkosh, which Hale has been a part of for 11 years, this year serving as the event’s co-chair of registration.

“It’s campus networking,” she said during a lull in the procession of UW Oshkosh employee check-ins at the 11th Annual Classified Staff Development and Appreciation Day on June 3. “A lot of people work in one area, and they never get to meet people. This is about camaraderie.”

The energetic event once again packaged a day-long line up of forums, workshops, speakers and activities honoring classified staff contributions to the University. The hundreds of participants who donned blaze orange and neon green t-shirts were recognized for the essential roles they play in helping UW Oshkosh achieve its strategic goals.

Classified Staff Development and Appreciation Day programming ranged from forums on preventing workplace bullying to estate planning to kayaking excursions on the Fox River.

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells kicked the day off with remarks emphasizing the value of classified staff in the university’s 1,700-employee community. Keynote speaker David P. Dean, an alumnus of the legendary Second City School of Improv in Chicago, focused on the importance of laughter in everyday life, sharing anecdotes and observations about his teenage years.

The annual event is planned and executed by the Classified Staff Advisory Council, which promotes a positive professional environment for all classified employees (represented, non-represented, limited term and project appointment). The CSAC regularly coordinates and hosts workshops and activities to further professional development and connection with the broader University community, while also advising UW Oshkosh’s Chancellor and other University administrators on legislative, budget and policy issues.

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