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Gibbon It All They Got

November 1, 1998

Judith Zwolak

Every October, the employees at the Tulane Regional Primate Research Center in Covington gather to feast on red beans and rice and participate in a drawing of more than 100 prizes donated by local merchants. The party has a loftier goal than just helping center employees "pass a good time."

It also reminds them that it's time again to contribute to the United Way campaign, which funnels workplace contributions to local charities. You can't argue with this strategy--primate center participation in the plan averages about 95 percent every year.

Gail Morgan, department administrator at the center and a chief organizer of the campaign, credits the caring people at the center for their high rate of participation. "It's really a good group of people out here," Morgan says. "It's a family atmosphere and people like to help out when they can."

Also, employees of the primate center who have received help from a United Way agency give their personal accounts of how the charity touched their lives.

"I think this makes us realize how vulnerable we all are," says Carolyn Boudreaux, accountant 1, who helps organize the center's annual campaign. Boudreaux adds that the close-knit group of about 150 center employees takes pride in their performance in the United Way campaign. "We have pride in the facility and enjoy making a good showing," she says.

Center director Peter Gerone credits the campaign's success to the more than 20 center staff members who become "communicators" during the campaign and organize the donations in their departments. The employees' sense of community also helps, he says. "We're a relatively small unit somewhat isolated from the rest of the university," Gerone says. "There is a feeling of belonging and a sense of community."

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