Many University of Richmond employees share similar interests for on-campus and off-campus activities and events, but before UR Involved, there was no organized opportunity for them to participate together.

“UR Involved exists to connect faculty and staff here on campus through social, recreational, and educational events,” said John Butt, a member of the group’s organizing committee and academic and career advisor for the School of Professional and Continuing Studies (SPCS).

The group, which has a mailing list of 43 UR employees, was established at the beginning of the spring 2012 semester, and the first event was in February. Beth Ann Howard, the primary contact for the group and administrative coordinator for the political science department, said members are regularly invited to attend events. “Some are sponsored by UR Involved while we attend and pay our own way for others.” The group gathers for sporting events, lectures, game nights, and restaurant happy hours.

To organize a schedule, five committee members meet once every two weeks, or more often for larger events. Recent outings have included an SPCS information session on tuition remission benefits and a Richmond Kickers soccer game.

“In some ways we consider the group to act as a buddy system,” John said. “It gives faculty and staff a group of individuals from around campus to attend various events with.”

In the first week of May, the group will meet to tour the Lora Robins Gallery and, afterward, get coffee at 8:15 at Boatwright.

A lunch also is held every month, and Beth Ann said the group may add speakers in the future. “The lunches are purely social and a chance to get away from your desk and meet people across campus,” she said. For those who R.s.v.p., there’s also a monthly drawing for a free lunch courtesy of USAC.

The biggest challenge facing the UR Involved committee so far is scheduling conflicts, but Beth Ann said she is hopeful the summer will allow for easier schedules and more participation. The committee also is hopeful to gain more funding next semester to expand the number of events they can sponsor.

“For me personally, UR Involved has allowed me to really network and socialize with faculty and staff from around campus, including those whom I might not have crossed paths with any other time,” John said.

To sign up for the UR Involved listserv, visit http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/usac-involve-list. For more information about the group, contact Beth Ann Howard at bethann.howard@richmond.edu.