April 20, 2023

WCU’s 2023 Employee Appreciation Celebrating Connection to Philadelphia

Professor Emeritus John Baker, Ally McAlonie, Lisa O’Shea, and Associate Professor David Jones

The city of Philadelphia and West Chester University have long been linked to one another. WCU students, faculty, and staff live there, conduct research there, and volunteer there. They root for its sports teams and visit its historical landmarks. Starting 10 years ago, they learn, work, and teach there. The WCU Philadelphia location opened its doors in the heart of Center City at 701 Market Street in 2013.

Celebrating that connection is the theme of this year’s Employee Appreciation, which will feature events and activities for all staff and faculty over May 15, 16, and 17, said Jaime Whitcomb, organizational development manager in the University’s Human Resources department.  

“There’s a lot of things happening on campus right now that involve Philadelphia. We’re highlighting that,” she said. “We’re celebrating some of the iconic things that people who live in this area have known and loved.”

A highlight will be an open house style event at The Sciences & Engineering Center and the Commons on Tuesday, May 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be immersive activities, a photobooth, and The Commons will be transformed into a version of Philly’s Reading Terminal Market.

Similar to last year’s celebration, the event will focus on encouraging employees to interact with one another.

“Last year we got overwhelmingly positive feedback on how people liked the mingling format and being able to make connections within our community,” Whitcomb said. “Especially coming off of COVID – being able to connect with one another is really important. It was a top priority for us.”

Also high on the list was showcasing and highlighting what West Chester University does best – supporting students and student success, Whitcomb said.

Part of that effort includes involving students in the event’s planning and execution. This year’s invitation was designed by Ally McAlonie, a junior Graphic and Interactive Design major.

“We gave her our vision and collaborated with her to create the artwork you’ve seen in the invite, and you’ll see it throughout the whole Employee Appreciation event,” said Lisa O’Shea, an employment manager in Human Resources who worked closely with McAlonie.

The connection between McAlonie and Human Resources came about with help from Associate Professor David Jones and Professor Emeritus John Baker.

“We were blown away,” O’Shea said. “I told Ally that when I opened it, I literally clapped and cheered because she nailed our vision. She took the statue of William Penn and replaced it with a golden ram, and there’s an airplane pulling a WCU banner and a train with WCU on it. She did a great job encompassing what’s exciting about Philadelphia and WCU.”

For McAlonie, the opportunity to design the invitation has been her biggest project to date. She’s enjoyed the experience so much that she’ll stay on with Human Resources as an intern to meet the graphic design and marketing needs for the event and beyond. 

“I wanted to incorporate the idea of the places that love you back,” she said of her design. “Bringing West Chester and Philadelphia together and pulling it into one place.”

RSVP to the Employee Appreciation Celebration and register for additional events being offered that week.



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