‘Amazing Admins’ donate food, COVID-19 supplies to Salvation Army

The Amazing Admins Employee Resource Group is one of 12 employee-led groups at Elon that aim to bring employees together over common interests, shared bonds and backgrounds.

When a group of Elon administrative professionals heard about a need in the community they came together and immediately pitched in to help.

The “Amazing Admins” Employee Resource Group (ERG) collected nonperishable food, COVID-19 protective supplies and financial donations for The Salvation Army of Alamance County during the holiday season. After just over two weeks of collections, the group was able to donate more than 170 pounds of food, one box of COVID-19 supplies and $1,360 to The Salvation Army, delivering the items on Dec. 17.

“It was indescribable to deliver our donations to The Salvation Army that day,” said Joan Dawson, executive assistant to the provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It was nice to know that the contributions we made were going to help so many people.”

Dawson founded Amazing Admins in 2018 as a way to bring together more than 100 campus administrative professionals once a month to build community and discuss a number of topics of interest. Because the group’s 2020 meetings were required to happen over Zoom, Dawson wanted to find a way to help the group connect offline while making a difference – even if from a distance.

Dawson reached out to the Kernodle Center for Civic Life’s Campus Kitchen, an on-campus volunteering opportunity for students, faculty and staff to prepare and deliver meals to community members who need them. With the help of Assistant Director of the Kernodle Center Sarah Williams, who advises Campus Kitchen, the Amazing Admins pinpointed The Salvation Army as a group that could use a variety of donations ahead of the holidays.

Amazing Admins donated more than 170 pounds of food, one box of COVID-19 supplies and $1,360 to The Salvation Army of Alamance County. (photo by Joan Dawson)

“Joan and her Amazing Admins blew us away with their generosity, and I know it was incredibly helpful to our partner, Salvation Army, as food insecurity has increased since COVID-19 hit,” Williams said. “I’m so grateful to Joan’s generous, creative and community-minded leadership to pilot this ERG food drive and hope it will inspire others across campus to consider hosting them.”

Throughout the donation drive, Dawson was particularly amazed by the overwhelming support of her fellow admins. The group’s generosity will go a long way toward supporting The Salvation Army’s food pantry and its numerous clients across Alamance County.

“The admins didn’t hesitate to bring over what they could, and I thought it was just awesome,” she said. “Every single day I saw them bringing in bags full of food and COVID-19 supplies.”

The food and supply drive was the first of its kind hosted by the Amazing Admins ERG, one of 12 Employee Resource Groups at Elon. ERGs are employee-led groups formed around common interests, as well as shared bonds and backgrounds. Extensions of the Office of Leadership and Professional Development, ERGs provide leadership opportunities for those who wish to participate in, initiate or lead a group and foster a supportive community where all employees can experience a greater sense of belonging.

Each ERG hosts programming to engage members in community building and discussions related to topics affecting the group. Gatherings for the Amazing Admins ERG often take the form of lunch-and-learn events. Fellow admins, as well as special guests, lead discussions each month on a variety of interesting topics. The meetings also allow for networking opportunities in an environment focused on fellowship and friendship.

Amazing Admins has served as a support system for Elon admins in search of learning, growth and connection. As the group continues to be a home for her fellow administrative professionals, Dawson is excited to find new ways for the cohort to connect and continue making a difference in surrounding communities.

“I’m so proud and honored to be part of this group, and I’m humbled that they chose to contribute to such a worthy cause,” Dawson said.

To learn more about the Employee Resource Group program, visit the Office of Leadership and Professional Development website here. For more information about hosting a food drive with Campus Kitchen, email campuskitchen@elon.edu.