The Annual Employee picnic is right around the corner! This year’s event will be held on Friday, June 1 from 4 to 8 p.m. on Burdick Field. Joe Oster, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services, and his team have been hard at work planning this year’s event to make sure everything is perfect for the entire TU campus and their families!
The employee picnic started in 1995 and was originally planned by the employees of the Office of Human Resources. The original picnic was held during the work day and was only for employees. For a nominal fee, you were able to attend the luncheon held on the University Union patio. According to Mary Anne Czyz, Director of Finance & Administration for OTS and Anna Herr, retiree of Fiscal Planning & Services, the original picnic was known for its mad dash to the buffet so everyone ensured they got their lunch. Dessert was provided by the cake contest and other events included fundraisers like the dunking booth, cow bingo and “pie in the face.”
In 1999, the picnic was turned over to Auxiliary Services. A committee of very creative and hard workers was formed from various A&F departments. Auxiliary Services was able to increase the budget and the picnic grew to also include families. This also marked the beginning of choosing a theme for the annual picnic.
Over the years, we have had many different themes. Who remembers the “Day at the Beach” picnic of 2000 that was held in the courtyard of Prettyman Hall? This was the first introduction of the sand pit and boy did the kids love it! The sand has been a popular addition to all picnics now, regardless of theme.
One of the most popular themes was “The Rodeo.” Sadly, that year the rains took over and we moved everything into the lower level of the garage. But the rain didn’t stop the fun we had with hay bales, games and lots of music. An amazing time was still had by all.
Speaking of rain, Joe Oster and Landscape Services Manager, Paul Thomas, are famous for watching the weather starting a week out from the picnic’s scheduled date. They are constantly watching the radar and doing their dance to the sun gods to bring good weather. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, so start doing your rain dance now for June 1! Like a true Boy Scout Joe is prepared to make a location change to the garage at any minute if necessary.
Two years ago, there was talk of cancelling the picnic due to budget constraints, but the committee wouldn’t have it! We needed this event to celebrate with our friends from campus. Despite a major slash to the budget, another great event was held. We went back to our roots and held an Old Fashioned Picnic complete with sack races, balloon tosses and hula hoop contests.
I know this year I am looking forward to catching up with old friends and colleagues that I don’t get to see that often, and my teenaged son is ready to chow down on the awesome menu: pit beef, smoked ham, hot dogs, beans, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob and so much more!
This year the theme is “Catch the Towson Wave.” Get ready to check out the boardwalk for a photo booth, face painting, and a balloon artist. A special thanks goes out to the awesome group of employees that pitch in every year to help with this massive event. Come out on June 1 to show them some love, eat ‘til you burst and celebrate TU!