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Staff Fest 2021: A virtual event like no other

Emory staff can join the virtual Staff Fest “Variety Show” on Friday, May 21, to be part of games, activities, breakout sessions and lots of chances to win prizes. There also will be live voting for Emory’s Aspiring Talent and Emory’s Favorite Pet (narrowed down through bracket voting to Ollie, left, or Cipro).

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. All staff are invited to kick back and have some fun with other Emory colleagues on Friday, May 21, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Staff Fest 2021 (the 43rd annual event) promises to be a virtual event like no other, with a full slate of interactive and engaging activities.

The first hour features the “Variety Show,” with staff playing games, competing for prizes and casting votes for the talent and favorite pet competition finalists. Fun Run/Fun Walk participants also will be featured.

  • Emory’s Aspiring Talent: Employees were asked to showcase their talents in this year’s Aspiring Talent competition. Entries included singing, dancing, playing of musical instruments and more. The Employee Council executive committee reviewed all entries and determined the top three finalists. Video submissions of the finalists — John Patrick (Goizueta Business School), Maggie Mataczynski (School of Medicine) and Lizzy Clements (Emory College) — will be shown during the Variety Show so viewers can cast votes for their favorite.
  • Emory’s Favorite Pet: More than 120 staff members submitted their pet for consideration in this wildly popular contest that had employees excitedly casting votes throughout this week. The contest has now been narrowed down to the final two pets: Ollie (Lou Ocasio, Office of the Registrar) and Cipro (Natasha Hopkins, Campus Life). Live voting for Emory’s Favorite Pet will happen during Friday’s Variety Show.

During the second hour of Staff Fest, employees can join activities hosted in breakout rooms:

  • Zumba: Dancing is always 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. 
  • Mobility: Learn functional ways to maintain or increase range of motion in this low-impact class.
  • Healthy cooking demonstrations: Join Chef Jochen Lawson from Kaiser Permanente in the kitchen with simple and healthy recipes.
  • Mindfulness: Participate in guided exercises to help reduce stress and anxiety and enhance clarity and overall health. 

The Staff Fest planning team suggests following these tips for the best experience:

  • Use a laptop or desktop computer (not a mobile phone), but have your mobile phone nearby for some of the interactive games.
  • Turn your camera on — all your friends who have missed you over the last year want to see you!
  • Wear a favorite Staff Fest t-shirt from years past. Have some water on hand and dress comfortably if you plan to participate in the exercise breakouts.
  • Be patient – there may be technical glitches due to events being live.
  • Relax and have fun! 

Staff Fest registration is open (sign up with your Emory email). More details on all activities can be found on the Staff Fest web page.

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