Emory's 42nd annual Staff Fest goes virtual with 'Stronger Together' theme

Emory Report | May 14, 2020

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Emory’s time-honored tradition of Staff Fest looks different this year, but will still take place virtually on Friday, May 15. Complete your own version of the fun walk/run, join a ZUMBA or WERQ class, or team up for trivia challenge and other activities.

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Staff Fest, a time-honored Emory tradition, always occurs on the Friday after Commencement to celebrate the university’s staff for the success of the academic year. While 2020 looks very different, the 42nd Annual Staff Fest will go on – virtually. The event takes place Friday, May 15, from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. with a full slate of interactive and engaging programs designed to help Emory staff reconnect with each other while having some fun.

With the theme of “Stronger Together,” Staff Fest kicks off at noon with a special video message from President Claire E. Sterk. The message will be sent out via email, along with a Staff Fest Guide and Zoom links for participating virtually.

Staff Fest attendees will enjoy some of the same activities they normally find during celebrations on the Quad, but also will notice some new events. Highlights include:

Fun run/fun walk

“The Fun Run/Fun Walk has been a Staff Fest tradition for many years,” says Melissa Morgan, senior manager of wellness programs. “Even though we can’t get together for an in-person race this year, we can still get outside to walk or run and share the experience with each other.”

Employees are invited to walk, jog or run a 2-mile course in their own neighborhood or their favorite nearby park anytime between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Those who wish can submit their time to get on the Gold, Silver or Bronze level lists: 

  • Gold: Under 20:00 minutes
  • Silver: 20:00 – 29:59 minutes
  • Bronze: 30:00 minutes or more 

Dance fitness (Zumba and WERQ)

Dancing is also a Staff Fest favorite, so the virtual version will not disappoint. People of all fitness and experience levels can enjoy Zumba, a fun, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance aerobics class. 

A new addition to the line-up this year is WERQ, a dance fitness exercise similar to Zumba but with more hip-hop. 

Staff Fest team trivia challenge

The popular volleyball competition has been replaced by the Staff Fest team trivia challenge, which also invites some healthy competition. Participants will join via Zoom and will be placed on teams to see who can complete trivia and puzzle challenges the quickest. Certificates will be awarded to the winners.

Employee Council 50 year celebration

John Bence, Employee Council president and university archivist, will give a brief presentation about the history of the Employee Council as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020. 

Other activities

With a focus on self-care, there also are sessions on “Eating Healthy at Home” and “Managing your WorkLife” during this challenging time.

Staff Fest will close with “Daily Refresh,” a unique opportunity to practice gratitude and promote resilience, hosted by the Faculty Staff Assistance Program.

For more fun, wear a favorite Staff Fest t-shirt from years past or enter the virtual background contest. More details on all activities can be found on the Staff Fest web page.