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Inclusivity and culture central focus for new Staff Senate president

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With change comes new opportunities. Staff Senate President C.J. Smith wants to pave additional ways forward for staff employees on campus as she steps into her new role.

Smith, operations manager of CCIT-Medicaid IT Services, will take the leadership reign from current president, Sue Whorton, director of the Class of 1956 Academic Success Center.  

“I had the pleasure of serving Clemson University in many different capacities, including as a graduate student, employee, instructor and sorority adviser” said Smith who also served as the Staff Senate vice president during the last term. “I am passionate about the University community and the staff.”

“I know C.J. and her leadership team will be professional and intentional advocates for the work-life balance, professional development, workplace equity, resources, rewards and recognition Clemson staff need to flourish in their jobs and at the University,” said Whorton in the May Staff Senate newsletter.

The Staff Senate has faced its own set of challenges through the pandemic, working to address concerns regarding safety of essential employees, mental wellness and caregiving.

Despite those challenges, the Staff Senate accomplished a number of objectives. It established an official inclusion statement and created the Employee Emergency Fund to support employees who’ve experienced financial hardship. It also created a recognition system for employees who’ve served for 10, 20 or 30 years at the University to be celebrated at the monthly Senate meeting and in the Senate newsletter.

The Senate Scholarship committee also held a virtual fundraiser in fall 2020 for the Staff Senate Student Scholarship Endowment. Fifteen children of Clemson staff were awarded $2,500 scholarships in 2021. An enhanced monthly newsletter was introduced with a primary focus on highlighting staff achievements and news regarding Senate initiatives.

Plans for Smith’s term as president include a continued focus on inclusivity through the Staff Senate Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence. There will also be continued efforts to promote awards and recognition opportunities for staff while increasing collaboration efforts with the various University Commissions and Faculty Senate.

“I believe the most valuable asset of any organization are the employees,” Smith said. “As Staff Senate President, I will embrace the work and advocate for a culture that is inclusive, equitable, diverse, and just for all populations.”

Defining a new work culture after the pandemic is a major focus for Smith. She is especially passionate about making sure the Senate remains an advocate for staff work-life balance and equity.

“I want to ensure all staff members of Clemson University feel represented, whether they are working remotely, work in Greenville, Charleston, or the myriad other locations across the state.”

Executive Officers

President:  C.J. Smith

Vice President:  Melinda Fischer

Past President: Susan Whorton

Secretary:  Cassi Bowen

Treasury:  Holly Stone

Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

Activities

    Chair:  Jake Anderson

    Vice chair:  Donnie Lloyd

Communications

    Chair:  Ryan Real

    Vice chair:  Victoria Roberts

Membership

    Chair:  Krista Baker

    Vice chair:  Chris Poole

Policy and Welfare

    Chair:  Jeff Anthony

    Vice chair:  Alisha Johnson

Scholarship

    Chair:  Holly Stone

    Vice chair:  Janeen Putman