All in the (‘Canes) Family

By Steve Pierre
UM Communications

From left are Michelle, Josh, and Kelsey Valencia

From left are Michelle, Josh, and Kelsey Valencia

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 5, 2017)—Michelle Valencia has seen not only her career at the U grow since she started as a full-time employee in 1989, but also her son and daughter. “They spent much of their earlier years at Canterbury Preschool and around the Coral Gables campus,” Valencia, now the director of publications at the School of Law, said about Josh and Kelsey, both UM students. “Since they were young, they both really wanted to come to UM as students—it was their dream.”

As Josh, a senior, and Kelsey, a freshman, make the most of their UM education, Valencia is grateful for her own student experiences, and the tuition remission benefit she can share with her children. A double ’Cane, she earned her undergraduate degree in journalism and English in 1988, and joined the University staff the following year, initially working with University Advancement in various roles before joining the School of Law in 2008.

Her employment not only allowed her to further her own education at little cost—she earned her master’s in higher education through the tuition remission program—but imbue her children with the ’Canes spirit and traditions from birth.

“We are very much a ’Canes family and they grew up learning to bleed orange and green,” Valencia said. “They knew they wanted to come here and knew what a blessing tuition remission would be, especially for a school of this caliber.”

Kelsey began her classes in the School of Nursing and Health Studies this fall, while Josh, who is studying motion pictures, has taken advantage of the opportunity to study abroad.

As Valencia continues her career at UM and her children work toward their degrees, she encourages her colleagues to learn about the opportunities tuition remission may open up. “I think everyone should look into it, whether it is for themselves, their kids, or even a spouse. It is truly an amazing benefit.”


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Decorating Dos and Dont’s for the Holidays

As the holidays approach, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety wants to remind the University community of some decorating “dos and don’ts”:

Do use UL-listed decorative lights, decorations, and ornaments.

Do use artificial holiday trees that are fire-resistant and place indoor trees away from traffic; do not block doorways.

Do unplug all holiday lights when you leave the office for the day.

Do remove all decorations, displays, lights and/or ornaments after the holiday event or prior to the University’s annual holiday closure.

Do not use decorative sprays or hang decorative materials (lights, ornaments, etc.) on any fire protection equipment (fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads, smoke detectors, fire alarm pull boxes, etc.), on or near exits or emergency lights. Also, do not place them in any manner that could present a fall or trip hazard, or impede egress.

Do not bring or burn candles, incense sticks and/or other related devices/accessories.

For more information, please contact Christine Daley at 305-243-8443 or c.daley@miami.edu.


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Relieve Post-Irma Stress with Free Meditation Class at the Herbert Wellness Center

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (October 2, 2017) – While our school and community continue recovering from Hurricane Irma, the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center has added an additional meditation class to help participants regain mind-clarity and get back into a routine. Improve your physical and emotional responses to stress while increasing your health and happiness at the free meditation class open to members and non-members on Wednesday, October 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Meditation is known to stimulate relaxation, which in turn might reduce blood pressure. Meditation can also alleviate conditions caused or worsened by stress, by decreasing metabolism, lowering blood pressure, and improving the heart rate, breathing, and brain waves.

Studies show that meditation may enhance the brain’s ability to process information. Not only can your memory expand, but your empathy and sense of self may improve as well. Meditation also assists in fostering compassion, happiness, and focus.

The meditation class, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the conference room on the second floor of the Wellness Center. Comfortable clothing is recommended. The next meditation class will be Tuesday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m.

For more information or to register for the class, call 305-284-5433 or email wellnesscenter@miami.edu.


Posted in Benefits, For Your Benefit, Health and LifestyleComments Off

New Sessions of Active Shooter Response Training Begin October 11

active shooter trainingThe Office of Emergency Management is offering five more sessions of Active Shooter Response Training this semester, including three sessions, all at Gables One Tower, with additional training by the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program on Workplace Violence.

Attendance at one of the sessions listed below is worth 150 Well ’Canes Points for those participating in the Well ’Canes program. To receive program credit, attendees must sign a wellness points attendance roster with their C number at the end of the class. Eligible participants will receive their points four to six weeks after attending one of these sessions:

Wednesday, October 11, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Whitten Learning Center, room 140

*Tuesday, October 24, from 10 a.m. to noon at Gables One Tower, room 1050BA

*Thursday, October 26, from 10 a.m. to noon at Gables One Tower, room 1050BA

*Thursday, November 2, from 10 a.m. to noon at Gables One Tower, room 1050BA

Monday, November 13, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Whitten Learning Center, room 140

The 1.5-hour Active Shooter Response Training includes a presentation and discussion of active shooter preparation techniques, warning signs, and survival tactics based on material provided by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA and adapted for the UM campus community.

The course is led by experienced members of the OEM and utilizes brief video content and a question-and-answer session to instruct attendees on the most up-to-date recommendations and methods of response. The training course is recommended for all units at all levels, including student workers.

*NOTE: The longer, two-hour sessions at Gables One Tower, which combine active shooter response training with training on preventing workplace violence, are intended for employees who work at Gables One Tower, but others who wish to attend will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis by emailing OEM@miami.edu and requesting your preferred session.

For more information, please contact the Office of Emergency Management at oem@miami.edu or 305-284-8005 during business hours.

Posted in Events, Extra Credit, For Your BenefitComments Off

Climate-Changing Cafecitos

By Steve Pierre
UM Communications

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 29, 2017)—While scientists and researchers across the University tackle the issue of climate change and sustainability every day, one department is making its own impact in this area—one cup of coffee at a time. In August, the Division of Enrollment Management made the permanent switch from paper cups to personal mugs.

“The custodian for our floor told me that we had a lot of garbage accumulating and I decided to investigate why,” said Michelle Tobon, office assistant with Enrollment Management.


Shane Hinton and Michelle Tobon show off their coffee mugs.

A closer look revealed the main culprit—paper cups overflowing in the trash receptacles. Tobon knew it was time to act. “When I joined this team, I was encouraged to find cost-efficient ways to help make improvements if possible, and I knew this was a chance to make that happen.”

Inspired by her father, who conducts eco-tours in the Amazon rainforest and helps indigenous people protect their lands from pollution, Tobon put her love of sustainability to work—compiling statistics and creating messages to get her team on board. “I sent a proposal to my supervisors and they loved the idea of transitioning to reusable mugs and bottles,” Tobon explained.

Rather than introduce this concept as an office policy, the team created the Bring Your Own Mug (BYOM) Challenge, giving staff the opportunity to share a bit of their personalities and passions through their personal coffee cups. “It was something that was really neat because it also allowed people who didn’t know each other to break the ice by telling the stories of their mugs,” said Tobon.

Shane Hinton, assistant director of admission who is earning his master of professional sciences in broadcast meteorology at the Rosenstiel School, jumped at the chance to share “something that is near and dear to me.” His enthusiasm and climate-changing mug, which literally changes when heated—sea levels rise and land masses, including Florida, disappear—made him the challenge’s first winner.

With such initiatives as Green U available to employees, Tobon says the U empowers employees to take the often-simple steps necessary to reduce the U’s impact on the environment. “I think if it was anywhere else, it would have been met with a lot more resistance,” Tobon said of the coffee cup challenge. “It’s such a small thing, but it makes a big impact. I’m glad I work for an organization that inspires and encourages their employees to be green.“

Click here to see some of the featured mugs from the Enrollment Management team.


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