By Curt Yeomans
Despite her best efforts, Mother Nature just could not seem to rain on Clayton State University's parade on Friday, as the school's Staff Council hosted its annual "Staff Appreciation Day" picnic.
The rain, however, did drive what was planned to be a picnic on the banks of Swan Lake, inside to the downstairs lobby of the Harry S. Downs Continuing Education Building.
Instead of sitting on the banks of the lake, staff members, who attended the picnic, had to look at the lake through a glass wall, and settle for over-head fluorescent lights, instead of sunshine.
But, to the staff members, the location did not matter as much as the fact that they were being recognized for their hard work and dedication to keep the university running every day.
"It's nice to be recognized and appreciated for doing what you do, every once in awhile," said Faye Henderson, a career advisor in the university's Clayton Career Resource Center.
According to Staff Appreciation Day organizer, Erin Fender, 180 staff members sent in RSVPs to attend the picnic this year. Fender is a public relations specialist for Clayton State's University Relations Office, and a member of the Staff Council.
"We do it just as a day to remind the staff that we know everybody works really hard everyday, and we appreciate everything they do," Fender said.
During the indoor picnic, staff members munched on barbecue sandwiches provided by McDonough-based Shane's Rib Shack -- or salads, if they preferred a vegetarian option.
There were also drawings for door prizes, which included laptop bags, shoulder bags, USB drives, tickets to a concert at Spivey Hall, and Clayton State University travel mugs, backpacks, T-shirts, and daily planners.
The 400 staff members at Clayton State serve the university in a variety of positions, ranging from clerks, to police officers, to network analysts, to administrative assistants, to librarians.
"This is a great way for staff members to celebrate what we do for the university," said Clayton State Network Analyst Kevin Fitzgerald. "People depend on us highly, and there'd be problems, if we didn't do what we do."