Kicking Off with Helpful Hands

UM employees in the Office of the University Registrar, led by Karen Beckett (second from right), volunteer their time during 'Cane Kickoff. Photo: Mike Montero/UM News.
By Brittney Bomnin

UM employees in the Office of the University Registrar, led by Karen Beckett (second from right), volunteer their time during 'Cane Kickoff. Photo: Mike Montero/UM News.

Kicking Off with Helpful Hands

By Brittney Bomnin
UM employees give back by giving their time during orientation week to help make ’Cane Kickoff a success.

On a given day, you can find Karen Beckett, University Registrar and her team in their newly renovated office space perfectly situated in the heart of the Coral Gables campus at the Whitten University Center. Tucked away just behind the Office of Undergraduate Admission, the Office of the University Registrar is what Beckett would call the “backbone of the University.”

“We keep track of everything the students do academically so they can graduate,” Beckett explained, adding that her team plays a crucial role in getting students from enrollment to graduation, managing everything from course registration, scheduling classes, and transcription of student records. Additionally, the team supports the University with internal processes and reporting.

But Beckett and her team also play an important role during ’Cane Kickoff, a program run by the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement created to welcome all new and transfer students and their families to the UM. Each year, faculty and staff volunteers are recruited to help direct new visitors to various events and locations and distribute much-needed water during the week-long orientation program. 

“I think that it is important for students and their families to see a united university when they arrive—One U, if you will,” said Beckett. “While we all have different roles to play at the University, ultimately we are all working toward the same goal of helping students graduate and live their future dreams.”

In August 2017, Beckett was one of 100 employee volunteers representing about 60 different departments from both the Gables and medical campuses who helped hand out almost 10,000 bottles of water to new students and their families during ’Cane Kickoff. This year, the Office of the Provost, the Division of Student Affairs and Human Resources have come together to sponsor these essential welcome stations and provide training for employee volunteers who have decided to contribute their time to help ensure another successful welcome week for students and families.

“The joy in volunteering is that you never know what action or comment is going to help someone,” said Beckett. “You might think it was insignificant—giving directions or handing someone a bottle of water, but to that person it may change the course of their day or be the one thing that put them in the right place at the right time.”

Employees interested in joining Beckett and her team as volunteers for a 2.5-hour time slot from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on August 13–15, can still do so by sending an email to leslie.leonard@miami.edu or completing this form. Volunteers will be invited to attend a brief training session on Monday, August 6, at the Shalala Student Center.