In just two weeks, staff and faculty of Red Deer Polytechnic raised more than $13,000 in support of students and United Way Central Alberta partner organizations. Employees also held a food drive for the Students’ Association Food Bank which netted nearly a ton of donated non-perishable food items.  

During the internal fundraising campaign, staff and faculty participated in a range of community-building activities that included themed dressing days, a coffee cart staffed by Polytechnic leaders, recreation activities and more.  

“The activities that staff and faculty design contribute to a sense of community across the institution,” says Mara-Lee Moroz, Executive Director of People and Culture at Red Deer Polytechnic, who served as one of the volunteer co-chairs of the 2022 campaign. “Emphasizing the breadth of United Way’s work, this year we worked together to highlight the Students’ Association Food Bank as one of the featured organizations where employees could direct their gifts. This was a valuable reminder that the constituencies the United Way benefits are our friends, neighbours, classmates and colleagues.”  

The workplace campaign netted $7,880 for the Students’ Association Food Bank, in addition to 1,951 pounds of food items. The Students’ Association has experienced a significant increase in requests during the past couple of years, as well as a decline in donor support during the pandemic. As traffic decreased on campus, most of the SA’s food drives and key fundraising activities were negatively impacted. This year, the Students’ Association estimated that requests for support would deplete resources of the Food Bank before the end of December. Employees of Red Deer Polytechnic stepped into action, quickly incorporating the Food Bank into the annual fundraiser.  

“As the Students’ Association, we often advocate for student needs, but we rarely ask for things outright. How the institution pulled together around this request for student support is absolutely amazing, especially considering that the cost of groceries right now is so high. As the representative of the students, I really appreciate this, and it makes me a bit emotional,” says Savannah Snow, President of the Students’ Association of Red Deer Polytechnic. “I’m very grateful. Food security and mental health lead directly to student success and these donations are going to help significantly. I am very encouraged by how the institution pulled together for this.”  

This is the third consecutive year that Red Deer Polytechnic employees have supported the United Way Central Alberta as part of the institution’s commitment to contributing to the economic and social enrichment of communities across Alberta and beyond.  

“I’m inspired to see how our internal community came together to support our students and United Way Central Alberta partner organizations,” says Stuart Cullum, Red Deer Polytechnic President. “Connecting the creative activities our employees organized to the critical work of United Way is one way in which our institution makes a tangible impact on our students and our community.”