Celebrating Growth & Giving Back: United Way at Academic Innovation

Lauren Atkins Budde, Associate Director of Design Management
Caitlin Hayward, Associate Director of Research and Development
Ricky LaFosse, Compliance and Policy Lead

It has been such an exciting fall at the Center for Academic Innovation — with our transition to becoming a center, the launch of the XR Initiative, new partnership with FutureLearn, and an influx of new brainpower to support all of these efforts, we have so many things to be thankful for this season.

Academic innovation team membersOne small part of that has been to take the time to support our community through the United Way of Washtenaw County. Our own Ricky LaFosse, Compliance and Policy Lead, has been shepherding this charge. We’ve heard directly from local United Way organizers about their important work and strategic plan. We’ve made delicious food to share together at our annual United Way potluck and raffle. We’ve donated giant stuffed sloths, hand-painted birds, and plenty of maize and blue gear all to raise as much money as possible for the 2019 U-M United Way Campaign. Collectively, we’ve raised approximately $3,00 so far, through 37 raffle donations, and 370 tickets sold across the office.

People gathered around a kitchen eating foodOur annual United Way Potluck is an opportunity for celebration and reflection, and so our team took a moment to share the things we’re grateful for:

We are grateful for animals, real and otherwise, and we are particularly fond of puppies, cats, and sloths. We’re thankful for creature comforts like central heating, air conditioning, and comfy pants.

Jen Vetter with stuffed animal slothWe’re grateful for the media that brings us joy, like our endless library of spot-on GIFs and the quite-possibly immortal, Keanu Reeves.

We are grateful to be here in this intellectually invigorating space, and for vacations away. We are thankful for our families and their health, for emotional support and the kindness of strangers. For the turn of the seasons and happy campfires.

Whiteboard - what are you thankful for?We are thankful for “Aha!” moments and collaboration, to be able to work alongside creative and cool people every day, for our amazing team and the opportunity to connect to learners around the world.

We are very lucky in many ways, and we are grateful to the University of Michigan and the United Way for the opportunity to share back some of what we’ve been given, through our donations, our relationships, and our work here at the Center for Academic Innovation to end educational privilege around the world.

Academic Innovation staff raffling off items for United Way raffleIf you’re a fellow U-M colleague and haven’t yet donated to the United Way campaign this year, we encourage you to support their many efforts across our community by donating now. And wherever you find yourself in the world as we look toward 2020, we invite you to celebrate what you’re thankful for and give back in your own community in whatever way you can.

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