Voice of Staff is an open forum where staff may raise issues, pose questions, and put forward topics for discussion at future Staff Council meetings. Voice of Staff topics may either be submitted online or presented at Staff Council meetings.
All staff are welcome at Staff Council's January meeting. The meeting will be held January 22, 2014 in the DePaul Club (DePaul Center 11th Floor) on the Loop campus from 1 to 4 pm. Our guest will be our new Provost, Dr. Donald Pope-Davis, who will be speaking at 1:30 pm. If you can't attend the entire meeting, please feel free to come and go quietly.
Monday, December 9 through Friday, December 13 is Faculty/Staff Appreciation week at Ray Meyer. Bring your DePaul ID and see how The Ray can help you achieve your wellness goals. All group classes are free. Click here for more information.
In support of our troops, Staff Council is collaborating with DePaul's Office of Veterans Affairs to collect items to provide CARE packages to active military personnel serving overseas. We invite all in the DePaul University community to join us in this effort. If you'd like to contribute, please send toiletries, DVDs and DePaul gear to Joe Bertolli in Suite 303 of the Lincoln Park Student Center. We will be shipping the packages early to ensure they arrive before Christmas Day.
If you have a relative or loved one currently serving in active military service, please send the recipient's name and contact information, along with a personal note (if preferred) to Joe Bertolli in Suite 303 of the Lincoln Park Student Center. Staff Council would be honored to assemble a package for your brave soldier, and will make every effort to honor each request. Because of the limited number of packages, please make sure to submit all requests before December 5th, 2013. Items especially in demand are:
Staff Council is working with staff to develop a weight-loss support group on campus. The support group intends to provide a nonprofessional arena for individuals to share weight-loss secrets, healthy recipes, fitness plans, etc. and provide camaraderie to fellow University employees seeking to gain a healthy lifestyle. Staff members interested in participating in a weight-loss support group are encouraged to contact Linda Jepsen, Staff Council President or Kate O'Brien, Athletic Academic Advising. The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 3 from noon to 1 pm in the Ray Meyer Conference Room (to the left of the main front desk) at the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center in Lincoln Park. We look forward to sharing our ideas and hearing yours as we come together to promote a healthy university.
The Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs office will be continuing the community group for staff and students who currently have or have had loved ones deployed.
Please contact the Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs office for more information.
Staff Council would like to share information about some cultural celebrations which occur in December this year. If you wish to read more about these celebrations, you can visit the Credo Reference Guide's Holidays.
November 28 – December 5 (Kislev 25 to Tevet 2)
Hanukkah (Chanukah; Festival of Lights; Feast of Dedication; Feast of the Asmoneans)
Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, celebrated for eight days, starting on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev. It commemorates the Maccabean recapture and rededication of the temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E. The story comes from the First and Second Books of the Maccabees. Antiochus IV, king of Syria, had forbidden Jews to practice their religion, and the temple was desecrated. Faithful Jews fled to the mountains. Under the leadership of Judah Maccabee they retook the town and temple. After military victory was achieved, they wanted to rededicate and purify the temple. The rededication ceremony required light for eight days, but only enough oil remained to kindle the necessary light for one day. The miracle of Hanukkah is that oil burned for the required eight days. The celebration of Hanukkah is not commanded in Hebrew scriptures, as is the observance of many other Jewish holidays. It is, however, observed in synagogues with special readings and praise songs. Central themes of the service are liberty and freedom. The best-known custom associated with Hanukkah is the lighting of the eight-candle menorah. The shamash is a special candle in the middle of the menorah that is used to light the others. One new candle is lit each night from right to left so that the light grows throughout the festival. As the candles are lit, family members praise God and say a prayer. The menorah is traditionally placed in a window so that passersby can see it. Other Hanukkah traditions include eating latkes (potato pancakes), parties, games, and dances. In one popular game, the dredl game, children spin a dredl (a top-like toy) in a contest to win coins or candies. Many Jewish families in the United States have adopted the practice of gift-giving during the eight-days of Hanukkah. It is supposed that this is a practice borrowed from the Christian celebration of Christmas.
Bodhi Day, or Pali, honors the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha experienced nirvana on this day after meditating under a tree.
Rohatsu (Enlightenment of the Buddha, Japan) The Japanese word rohatsu means "eighth day of the twelfth month." In Japan, December 8 is the annual observance of the enlightenment of the Buddha, or "Bodhi Day." Zen monasteries usually schedule a week-long sesshin that culminates on December 8. It is traditional to meditate all through the night on the last night of Rohatsu Sesshin.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
This Roman Catholic observance is a holy day of obligation on which church attendance is required. It is classed as a solemnity. It honors Mary in view of her calling to be the Mother of Christ and in virtue of his merits. The day celebrates the belief that Mary was preserved from original sin beginning with the moment of her conception and that she was filled with grace from the very beginning of her life. She was the only person, aside from Jesus, believed to be so preserved from original sin.
December 9 Holy Theotokos (Mother of God) and EverVirgin, Mary (Orthodox)
In contrast to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, Orthodoxy proclaims that Mary was conceived and born like every other human. In giving birth to Christ, however, she preserved her virginity so she is often called the Ever-Virgin. The Orthodox Church observes the normal conception of the Holy Theotokos (Mother of God) by St. Anna, mother of Mary, on this day.
December 16-25 Posadas (Hispanic)
This feast of “The Lodgings” is celebrated in Hispanic communities to commemorate the journey of St. Mary and St. Joseph to Bethlehem. Folk plays in which children perform the roles of Mary and Joseph take place in the town. The children knock on doors and are turned away repeatedly until they finally find shelter in the parish church, at which point the community party begins. Another highlight of the celebration for the children is the breaking of the piñata which scatters gifts to those standing nearby.
December 22 Yule (Wiccan/Pagan)
Yule, or the Winter Solstice, is a Quarter Day. It marks the beginning of many Pagan calendars. In the Celtic Tree Calendar, the Silver Fir, symbolic of birth, and the Yew, symbolic of death, are honored together on this day. Yule is the longest night of the year and the day when the waning (lessening) sun yields to the waxing (growing) sun signifying rebirth or resurrection and the beginning of a new cycle. The Ancient Romans celebrated the winter solstice as Sol Invictus (The Undefeated Sun).
December 24 Christmas Eve (Christian)
The day before Christmas is a full or partial holiday in 29 countries, and in most of the United States. In central and northern Europe, Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day, is the occasion of the major family celebration, and some American families observe this custom as well. A long-standing liturgical tradition of Christmas Eve has been the “Midnight Mass.” Many parish churches, however, hold the service earlier than midnight so that entire families, including young children, can attend. Although Christmas is observed by the majority of Christians, there are a few sects that make a point of not observing Christmas or most other common Christian holidays. Instead these groups, including Adventist churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, and various British Israelite communities, often look to Hebrew sources for identifying holidays. Because these groups usually use the Christian calendar, however, the dates of the holidays they celebrate are often different from the Jewish celebration of the same events.
December 25 Christmas Day (Christian)
Christmas is the day on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; the name means "Christ's mass". The Roman Catholic Church designates it as a day of holy obligation on which members must attend services.
A vast number of non-religious customs are associated with Christmas in the United States. A traditional day of family gatherings, Christmas is often celebrated with a feast. The Christmas tree has become a standard symbol of the season in the United States.
December 25 through January 5 Twelve Days of Christmas (Christian)
The twelve days of Christmas are counted from Christmas to Epiphany. Epiphany was the traditional date for the visit of the Three Magi, and is still the customary date for gift-giving in many parts of Europe, Mexico, and Latin America. Twelfth Night, the eve of the last day, marked the end of the Christmas season, usually by means of one last exuberant party. In many American homes, New Year's Day (rather than the Twelfth Day of Christmas) is considered the end of the holiday season.