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The Student Government Association and Campus Activities Team joined together to host the first-ever Appreciation Day for University staff members on Thursday, April 11.

The day included food and entertainment for employees from Public Safety, Dining Services, Facilities and the Connelly Center.

This is the first student run appreciation event for these staff members.

“We want to do something for these wonderful folks,” said Chris Marroletti, the outgoing SGA President.

The students first thought of the idea over the summer and it began to take shape this semester.

The organizers of the event are seniors, and they thought it would be appropriate to thank staff members for everything they had done for them over the past four years.

“We want to do something to give back to them,” said Andrew Carroll, a member of Campus Activities Team.

“Saying thank you is one thing, but showing them our thanks is different,” said Lael Hoegen, outgoing SGA Vice President.

The festivities included food such as sundaes and a nacho bar catered by BlueMonkey Catering.

Chef Scott William Clarke has appeared on the Food Network and teaches cooking courses in addition to catering.

The sundae bar he created for this event included more than your typical ice cream sundaes, with treats such as vanilla bean waffles, European double chocolate brownies, a bourbon brown sugar sauce and strawberries in a champagne sauce, in addition to your basic ice cream toppings.

There were also cupcakes at the event from *ndulge Cupcake Boutique in Bryn Mawr.The music at the event was provided by the Villanova Tech Crew.

Students from both SGA and CAT helped with set up, decorations, flower arrangements, serving food and clean up.

There were also activities such as caricatures, massages and manicures.  The manicures were done by staff members from Student Development.

“It’s the staff helping the staff too,” Hoegen said.

The day came together with the help of Nikki Hornsberry,  Tom Mogan, David Tedjeske, Tim Dietzler and Bob Morro.

These individuals helped with various aspects of the event, including allowing the staff members to have the time off to come to the appreciation day, Marroletti said.  A number of campus departments and organizations came together to donate gifts for a raffle.

Each attendee received raffle tickets and could enter to win items such as Villanova golf polos, t-shirts, a Wawa Gift Basket, a Villanova wine stopper, an iPod shuffle, a signed ball from men’s basketball, tickets to a Villanova football game and tickets to a men’s basketball game.  Throughout the week, there were banners outside of the Connelly Center for students to sign and show their thanks for the staff members.

A lot of students get to know their professors really well through class and discussions, but they never get to know the staff members,

said Hoegen.

“I think it’s time that we start making the effort,” she said.

The staff members expressed their thanks to the students for organizing the day.

“It’s really us thanking you,” Marroletti said.  “They are really our support system.”

Marroletti went on to say how much of pleasure it was for the students to organize the event and how much these staff members make a difference in the lives of University students.

“They know our names, what we like to eat, when we’re down,” he said.

“We’ve never had anybody do this before,” said Gerry DiDonato, who works in Café Nova.

DiDonato mentioned how much she appreciated the efforts of the students and the staff won’t soon forget it. Her favorite part of the day was to get a massage since she’s normally on her feet for the entire day working in Café Nova.

Other staff members echoed these sentiments, including Vinny Amabile, who works in Facilities.

“This is nice to see the kids want to do something,” he said.

The role of this year’s senior class in the planning stood out to Tonya Jarmon, who works in Café Nova.

“Class of 2013 has really outdone themselves,” Jarmon said.

Sitting with her friends from Café Nova, Jarmon went on to say,  “This is really nice.  You really feel appreciated.”

Incoming SGA president Tom Soussou and vice president Sean Dolan plan to continue the Appreciation Day next year.

“It’s definitely a good way to show them our appreciation,” Soussou said.

They also would like to get more student groups involved.

“I think teaming up with different organizations is really good,” he said.

Soussou and Dolan would also like to possibly do other appreciation events for the staff throughout the year.

This year’s outgoing Student Government Association and Campus Activities Team leaders would like to see this event continue and become an annual tradition to say thank you to Public Safety, Dining Services, Facilities and the Connelly Center staff.

“They do so much for us,” Hoegen said. “Why not do something for them?”

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