Fall 2015, Volume 11, Issue 1

11th Annual Spooky Halloween Competition

UCSB department staff dressed as Alice in Wonderland characters

Staff Assembly invites you to join the Halloween festivities and win lunch for your staff by entering your department into the 11th Annual Halloween Decorating contest. On Friday, October 30th, Staff Assembly will visit each participating department or office to judge their Halloween spirit based on decorations and costumes. The winning department will win a gift card from Woodstocks.

If your department would like to enter, please provide your department name, location, and the name of a contact person to Greta Carl-Halle at by Friday, Oct 23rd.

The individual Halloween Costume Competition will be held at 12:15pm in the Hub at the UCen that day. Gift cards will be given out as prizes in several categories. There is no need to register ahead of time for the costume competition. Just show up! Happy haunting!

Halloween Contest Information

  • Department Decorating Competition
    • Entry deadline Friday, October 23
      Contact Greta Halle --
    • Contest Friday, October 30 - see the Staff Assembly News page on October 29th for participating department list
  • Individual Halloween Costume Competition
    • Time: judging starts at 12:15pm
    • Location: inside UCEN at the Hub

Gaucho Mentor Connection

Gaucho Mentor Connection, a staff mentor program borne of a Gaucho U 2.0 cohort project, has completed its inaugural year in 2014-15, and is beginning its second year with more participants!

The program's first year began with over 60 applicants and culminated in a graduation ceremony in June, honoring 15 successful pairs. This year, the committee received over 40 applications and we were able to assign 20 pairs.

This year's program kicked off with a Welcome Mixer on Sept 18, 2015, where mentees had a chance to meet with prospective mentors. After the mixer, the Gaucho Mentor Connection Committee coordinated the 20 pairings, and participants will begin meeting with their designated mentor/mentee soon. The committee is also organizing one or two formal mid-point check-in mixers to allow for expanded networking beyond the assigned pairs, informal gatherings throughout the year, and a closing ceremony at the end of the academic year.

Gaucho Mentor Connection is designed to offer participants, mentor and mentee, the opportunity for professional development, networking and skill acquisition through peer-to-peer mentorship. Applications are accepted each year starting in July. If you are interested in joining the Gaucho Mentor Connection committee or learning more about the program, please visit:

The Cool Campus Challenge

Join The Cool Campus Challenge, a 10-week online competition between the 10 UC system campuses designed to motivate and reward staff, faculty and students who take steps to reduce their carbon footprints and help the UC system reach Carbon Neutrality by 2025.


Each week of the Challenge will highlight an important theme along with suggested actions participants can take that will directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase education and awareness about climate disruption. These activities can be as simple as turning off the lights, taking public transportation, or eliminating space heaters.


In addition to the individual energy-saving actions, there will also be a series of larger energy-saving related events taking place on campus, including the UC Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit Oct. 26-27 at UC San Diego. The invitation-only summit will feature Governor Jerry Brown, UC President Janet Napolitano, UC-wide faculty involved in climate research, and students. Campuses will also be conducting smaller outreach events like bike-powered ice cream socials to educate and motivate campus communities. The Cool Campus Challenge is an important part of President Janet Napolitano’s 2013 Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which outlines the direct actions the University will take to address the growing crisis of climate change driven by fossil fuel emissions. The Challenge, a collaboration between the University of California and the UC Berkeley Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, is the first major cross-campus effort to engage staff, faculty and students alike in a communal effort to become carbon neutral.


“UC campuses are already leading the world in so many ways. Now we’re on our way to becoming the very first university system to wipe out our carbon footprint for good,” said President Napolitano. “It’s a daring goal, and one that we can only meet if we work together, which is why the Challenge is so important.”


In the spirit of competition, staff, faculty and students will have an opportunity to score points for their campus and department each time they complete one of the activities. Campuses with the most points will be eligible for raffle prizes, and the one with the most points accrued by the end of the Challenge will earn the title of “Coolest UC Campus.”


Participants can help promote the Challenge and track Challenge updates via social media using the hashtag #UCool.


To sign-up for the Challenge, visit

Staff Spotlight: Greta Carl-Halle

Greta Carl-Halle

I have been a staff member at UCSB for over 23 years. I started as a student worker when I was an undergraduate and moved my way through the ranks to my current position as the MSO in Computer Science.

I joined Staff Assembly about 15 years ago. The number of staff volunteering to participate in Staff Assembly had dwindled, and I wanted to help insure the events planned for staff, such as the Ice Cream Social, could continue. Since then Staff Assembly has worked on expanding the events we offer by partnering with other staff groups, as well as communicating with the administration on important issues such as Staff housing.

As co-chair of Staff Assembly, I had the opportunity to serve as one of UCSB’s delegates to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA). CUCSA meets on a quarterly basis around the UC system, and as a delegation, works to enhance communication on matters of interest to staff. CUCSA meets with local administrators at the various locations and administrators from the Office of the President to provide a staff perspective on policies and procedures. It is our goal to be sure the staff voice is included on matters of mutual interest.

This year I am the Chair of CUCSA. As a member of CUCSA leadership, I attend Regents meetings and meet with President Napolitano on a quarterly basis, bringing to her CUCSA’s recommendations. This year CUCSA is focusing on four topics we believe are important to staff right now: Health and Wellness, Staff Veterans, Effective Change Management and Performance Management.

Greta Carl-Halle with Janet Napolitano

The Health and Wellness workgroup is working with system-wide Wellness Coordinators and will be formulating recommendations to President Napolitano on enhancing wellness efforts at the campuses. CUCSA has been discussing the Staff Veterans population with President Napolitano over the last year and she has tasked us with exploring a re-entry program for veterans as they transition into the UC workplace.

CUCSA also conducted a Staff Engagement Survey earlier this year, and we are working with local Human Resources at each campus to roll out the results to everyone. These results will help shape both CUCSA’s and local Staff Assemblies’ agendas moving forward. The Effective Change Management and Performance Management workgroups were formed in response to the survey results.

I am also currently serving on the Retirement Options taskforce. This taskforce was formed by President Napolitano to help develop retirement benefits options for her and the Regents to consider in response to the state’s budget agreement. The taskforce consists of 12 members from across the UC system, and I, along with Staff Advisor to the Regents De Acker, am there to be a voice for Non-represented staff.

My involvement in Staff Assembly and CUCSA has enhanced my experience as a UC employee. I find it rewarding to be part of the decisions that impact us all.