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REACH Marks Third Successful Year

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When Danika J. Clevenstine got lost on her way to her first REACH session, she found a friend instead.

“I had only been at Lehigh about a year when I started in the program.” Danika recalled recently. “Abby (Barlok) and I were both searching for the room. Now we’re good friends.”

REACH – Resources to Engage Accomplish Connect and Help – is a three-year old program started by the Employee Relations Advisory Committee (ERAC).  REACH has a two-fold agenda: participants are learning about Lehigh’s inner workings while also building their own networks within the university.

REACH participants shape their experience. Each group decides which areas of the university they would like to learn more about. Facilitators from ERAC then reach out to their contacts in those areas and flesh out the year-long program. 

“We had a great team this year, co-chaired by Cindy Moser and Jeanne Kassis,” Facilitator Carla Kologie, College of Education, noted. “They were full of good ideas. It’s exciting for me because it’s different every time.”

Discovery and Connectedness

Lisa Collins from the College of Education said she learned something new at each session. “The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs presentation was really interesting,” she said. “Having been in a sorority in college, I still had no idea the amount of work the university does behind the scenes to support the Greek system."

REACH was the first time some staff members heard about particular areas of Lehigh. “I didn’t even know we had LGBTQIA services until we met with Trish Boyles,” Danika said. “She was very passionate about her work.”

Working in Advancement, Jonathon Pelter recognizes the importance of relationships. “REACH was the program that I thought offered the best opportunity to learn about the Lehigh culture,” he said. “It’s an environment to meet people from other parts of the university which can help form cross-campus partnerships.”

For Morgan Nelson from the department of Marketing, the reason for signing up for REACH was simple. “I did it to get out of the office and meet people,” she said.

ERAC Facilitator Katie Welsh Radande says that’s a reason that resonates with many participants. “There aren’t many things going on at Lehigh where you get to both learn something and really interact with fellow employees,” she noted.

Lydia Benjamin of the Office of the Vice President and Provost for Research and Graduate Studies agrees that REACH fills a need at Lehigh. “It’s an intimate program,” Lydia explained “You get to mingle with members of your group, and the presenters are very approachable. There was a lot of two-way interaction.”

Morgan says that the program opened her eyes to some of Lehigh’s treasures that are right in her backyard. “My favorite part of the program was our visit to the art galleries,” she said. “Zoellner is so close to my office, and I’d never been there.”

Interested in REACH?

Did hearing from this year’s participants spark your interest in REACH? New cohorts of REACH will be forming for the 2014-2015 academic year. You can let ERAC know that you would like to be part of next year’s program by filling out this form.

 The two REACH cohorts that met monthly during the 2013-2014 academic year recently marked the conclusion of their experience with a celebratory luncheon. 
From Left to Right Row 1: Jonathan Pelter, Kaitlyn Brown, Carla Kologie   
Row 2: Lydia Benjamin, Penny Fasching, Janine Papach, Danika Clevenstine, Morgan Nelson  Row 3: Mary Ellen Kitchen, Lisa Collins, Cindy Moser, Kathy Novogratz, Jill Spotz, Katie Welsh Radande, Jeanne Kassis   

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