From plumbers to project managers, facilities management employees work to run the U campus. This winter they came together to knit hats for the Road Home and local hospitals.
Shireen Ghorbani, spokesperson for facilities management, said the department has previously participated in an annual project, doing things like making blankets. This year was an attempt to try something new.
Karen Janicki, administrative assistant to the executive director, approached the Bennion Center about a service project; they suggested making hats as a simple and cost-effective activity. Janicki said she felt it was something the department could easily participate in.
Employees made donations and sold snacks to provide funding and materials. Ghorbani said workshop spaces were set up across campus with scheduled time for participants to learn knitting or how to use hand-held knitting looms.
One hundred and ninety-one volunteers worked 240 hours and completed 214 hats. Finished products were given to the Bennion Center and distributed to the Road Home, the U Hospital and Primary Children’s.
Janicki said some employees wanted to make activity bags for hospital waiting rooms instead of the hats. These employees donated money and their time to fund the project. The bags contained items such as small toys and coloring books to entertain children with a family member in the emergency room or in a medical appointment. They made about 150 bags.
“Facilities Management encompasses a lot of trades folk, such as carpenters and electricians,” Janicki said. “At first, some of them were skeptical of the hat-making idea.”
However, Janicki said most people eventually found the project “really enjoyable,” and she received positive feedback from volunteers about the project.
“A number of the guys went and bought the looms so they could make Christmas presents for themselves,” Janicki said.
Janicki also emphasized the team-building element of the venture. She said the intention behind this service project, according to the department’s executive director, was “not only to give back to the community, but also to get the chance to connect with each other.”