Julie Benedict has filled several roles since landing her first position at Eastern Illinois University 15 years ago. One thing has remained constant, however. Benedict has never regarded her time at Eastern as just a job.
"EIU is more than a paycheck," says Benedict, a training and development specialist with the Department of Human Resources. "I feel very much part of a community and family. This is evident every time I walk through campus and experience the collegiality and friendship. We all have a purpose here at EIU, and we need each other to be successful and achieve excellence."
Benedict started out in 1995 as extra-help in the School of Continuing Education before taking a full-time secretarial position the next year in the Business Office. Her move to Human Resources took place in 2002, where her duty is to work with departments in an effort to assess development needs and to provide employees with the tools and resources necessary to do their jobs well.
"I see the great work everyone does and programs that are so important," adds Benedict. "I want to contribute back to help EIU succeed in excellence, because the success of EIU affects me directly."
For Benedict, a regular payroll deduction has provided the perfect giving option, allowing her to spread her contributions over time rather than writing one sizable check every year. In fact, she says she hardly misses the amount of money deducted each pay period.
"Someone could give an amount similar to the cost of one lunch or dinner a month," explains Benedict. "If I think of it this way, it's not so taxing. I could certainly give up one lunch or dinner a month in the name of quality education and programs. Many programs, scholarships, departments and other recipients depend on contributed monies to operate, and I like to think that I have made a difference in someone's life. Maybe my contributions alone haven't made that difference, but they definitely have with others collectively."
Benedict's job to cultivate and expect greatness out of the people working at EIU, but she knows she can't expect that greatness from others without expecting greatness out of herself. That's why she gives.
"We are all part of EIU, and the success of our students, faculty and staff depends on the quality of our programs and education," says Benedict. "If we as employees who see and experience the greatness of EIU don't feel the need to support it, how can we expect anyone else to do so? We often say 'somebody should donate to this scholarship, program or department.' Well . . . aren't WE somebody? I know I am, and I would like to think others feel this way as well."
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Getting an A on a biology exam is great, but it doesn't help others. We should use our academic abilities to do good. Stephani Pescitelli