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Barrett sets ambitious goals for 1997 Connecticut state employee campaign
September 29, 1997

Bill Barrett has taken a lot of heat this year as head of a parking authority that instituted restrictions on parking that represent UConn's first step toward a pedestrian-free center campus. And Barrett, executive director of administrative and logistical services, would be the first to admit it's been tough.

So when Barrett got the chance to lead a campaign of a different sort - the annual Connecticut State Employee Campaign for Charitable Giving - he embraced the opportunity. He also put his administrative hat back on and found the first two of many prizes that donors to the campaign will be eligible to win: A "Restricted" parking sticker enabling the winner to park in the academic core for a year - a prize worth $300 that will be awarded through a drawing among all donors; and, for people contributing more than $200, the chance to win a private parking spot, marked with a reserved sign in the location of the winner's choice - a perk now available to only a select few, at a cost of $600 annually.

Now, all he has to do is spearhead a campaign that hopes to raise more than $100,000. Compared to his other job, it should be simple.

The campaign, dubbed UConn Cares - Embrace a Life, begins at 11:30 a.m. on October 1, with a fun run/walk and a barbecue on the Student Union Mall. The barbeque will be free to everyone who participates in the fun run/walk, at a distance of either 11/2 or 3 miles, and $3 for all others.

Last year, UConn employees and students contributed $95,000 to the statewide effort, but only 14 percent of the employees gave to the campaign. This year, Barrett hopes to get at least 20 percent of the staff on board for the campaign, which runs throughout October. UConn employees can contribute through payroll deduction or with a one-time contribution. Either way, they qualify for various raffles and, better, can do something that will help the less fortunate.

"The economy may be performing well, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of people out there in need of help," Barrett says. "For those of us fortunate enough to have good jobs, it's a pleasure to wake up in the morning. But there's another world out there, one which people find themselves in, through no fault of their own, that presents a far different reality. The UConn Cares campaign gives us all a chance to reach out and help them."

As in past campaigns, donors can contribute to one or more of hundreds of charities, local, national or international, from the American Cancer Society to the local YMCA. Donors can contribute as little as $1, or as much as they wish. Gifts are tax deductible.

Barrett also is trying something new this year. Besides the parking spots and other regular incentives - tickets to events at Jorgensen Auditorium, UConn sweatshirts and hats, and a pizza party for the office with the highest percentage of contributors - Barrett is asking members of the University community to donate something personal. That effort so far has produced a drawing for a weekend at a Vermont cottage, donated by Thomas Q. Callahan, associate vice president for institutional advancement. Barrett is hopeful that others, too, will step forward.

Inquiries also have been made to area businesses for donations, and Division of Athletics officials are considering offering tickets to basketball games or other incentives.

The raffles will be held at various times, including during the October 1 barbecue, during a '50s luncheon October 16, and during a closing ceremony October 30, which will feature slices of pie, Halloween costumes, and other autumn treats.

The focus, though, is on helping others - embracing those who need a hand, says Barrett. The campaign, he says, noting the UConn Cares campaign is an excellent place for faculty and staff to "park" part of their charitable contributions for the year.

Richard Veilleux