Our residents and their interests are a rich resource here at University Commons. Committees made up of residents provide valuable assistance to the Board of Directors and the community in accomplishing the vital functions of the Association. They allow UC residents to participate fully in Association activities and the committee members, in turn, inform other residents of community plans and events.
Besides Committees, there are many special interest groups that have been formed. These are open to any resident wishing to participate. Occasionally a resident is a member of an outside club or group that wishes to use our facilities. Many groups have taken advantage of this opportunity.
A description of our committees and groups follows.
The art committee is responsible for formulating and implementing policies governing the choice, placement, and use of art in Houghton Hall and Woodbridge North and South. It receives and reviews loaned and donated works of art and selects those for display in common areas and keeps an inventory of the artworks in its possession (what is not hanging is kept in storage closets).
In addition, the Art Committee identifies artists and makes arrangements for exhibitions in the Woodbridge galleries, assists residents in North and South Woodbridge with selection of art for their respective floors and facilitates development of art-related educational programs and classes.
Common Times Newsletter
The Common Times provides creative ways to maintain high level of participation within the community. University Commons’ resident newsletter is published twice a year. The purpose is to provide a written link among the UC community to share personal and family news, relevant Association information, items of interest, personal writings, photographs, and most important, a way to get to know members of the community.
The Common Times committee designs, plans, edits, and publishes the newsletter with residents and staff providing the content for each issue.
The University Commons Dining Program is considered a Critical Program for the Community. It is funded by a combination of a Budget Line Item and “charge back” of a fixed fee for meal participation by the residents. The committee is responsible for working with food vendors to assure that residents are offered nutritious meals through much of the year, while providing a pleasant dining experience that supports resident socialization. The Dining Committee is made up of resident community volunteers with a Chair appointed by the Board.
The committee insures accurate dining billing information is available and meets with selected food vendors on a regular basis to assure mutual understanding of dining program issues. It gathers information and feedback from residents about dining policies and procedures, monitors the quality of the dining service and works closely with dining staff.
The Finance Committee consists of five members of the community with the Treasurer as Chair. It prepares budgets for approval by the Board, investigates investment opportunities for community funds, constructs solutions to financial problems when they arise, and performs other functions as requested by the Board to insure the solvency of our Association.
Responsible for developing and implementing policy regarding the University Commons library, the committee reviews, selects, and prepares all donated books for placement in the library. They maintain sections of the library for specific items and catalogue incoming books. Most books are donated. Those that are not deemed suitable for the library are donated to other organizations. Committee members take turns maintaining the library materials and checkout system. There is a display stand in which materials written by UC residents, or other items of interest, are displayed. Members maintain the library space.
The Program Committee is responsible to identify and recommend potential speakers and other presentations for the Five O’clock program as well as evening and weekend events. The committee works closely with the Community Director, who expedites lectures and event programming. The committee is an essential element in the life of the UC community
The Chair commends the work the Director does to schedule, and sometimes to reschedule, speakers or artists for 5 O’clock sessions. She emphasized that the Director is integral to success of the program committee. Committee members are interested and helpful in recruiting people or groups. The Chair meets with residents who volunteer to produce other programming such as the courses on disease prevention and the current film series, in order to stay informed about their interests and to avoid any duplication by the program committee.
Public Relations (formerly Marketing) Committee
The UC Marketing Committee is now the Public Relations Committee. In the past the Marketing Committee worked behind the scenes to develop marketing strategies that deliver UC’s unique story to a specific target group, i.e. persons 55 and older with a 4-year college degree, and the financial means to buy at UC. Currently there is a wait list of interested buyers. This development has lead to a few changes in committee policies.
At this time our primary job is taking prospective buyers on tours to make sure they understand the advantages of living at University commons. This includes providing information on fee structure, commitment to community life, our programs, volunteer committees and membership requirements. With the Community Director’s help, the committee strives to inform all parties involved in the selling and buying of UC units about UC’s vision of widespread community involvement, and its emphasis on lifelong learning.
Informed real estate agents are a key to perpetuating UC’s community culture. To that end, the PR Committee attempts to interact with realtors on both sides: those who are representing the selling family, and those representing prospective buyers. On both sides, the realtors must understand, embrace and communicate UC’s vision. To facilitate the creation of an informed cadre of realtors, the PR Committee invites every listing agent to UC for a deluxe tour, and a discussion regarding UC bylaws, membership requirements, and community culture.
Owners considering selling should check out our Buying & Selling section for procedures. A list is kept of people interested in buying at University Commons. With the help of a local realtor, people on the list are notified when a unit goes on Multi-list.
The office staff often is the first contact that prospective buyers and their realtors have with our community. Many thanks go to staff members for fielding the numerous phone calls, for dispensing information, and for connecting the callers with UC’s volunteer tour guides.
Shop & Crafts
This committee recommends policies regarding the use of both the craft room and workshop with a specific focus on the use of equipment in both rooms providing a convenient place where residents may have access to tools and equipment in a manner that is safe for the users and does not create needless liability risk.
The committee is responsible for equipping the craft and shop rooms and provides instruction in the use of equipment as requested. It works with staff to ensure that equipment is operational, and recommends repairs and replacement and oversees a list of workshop users that is maintained in the office. All users must sign a waiver.
The Social Committee plans and carries out various social activities. The committee identifies ways to establish and maintain a high level of social involvement within the UC community.
The Chair notes that the committee plans and facilitates special events such as Fourth of July picnic and New Year’s Eve party. These two events are the only ones that are singled out by the Board. The Chair recruits residents to chair these events. There is a practice of having a Labor Day picnic or similar event as well; in some years there has been a Memorial Day event. If residents volunteer to chair Labor Day or Memorial Day events, they will take place.
The Chair has begun a process to recruit annual event chairpersons to commit to two years as chair. This approach alleviates the task of continually looking for chairs.
Another committee responsibility is to oversee Common Time. The Chair periodically hosts a themed Common Time, such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, poetry readings or joke night; in addition, she encourages residents to share their cultural heritage with their own themes and stories.
There is a Chair of Common Time. He has written instructions for Common Time and the Resident Hosts who volunteer each Friday. He recruits volunteers to sign up for turns as hosts. This Chair maintains the inventory of wine, beer, and soda, as well as paper and plastic supplies. He collects and maintains the collection and disbursement of the Common Time “kitty” fund of money to which residents contribute. Common Time is a self-sustaining program.
The Welcome Committee chair visits each new resident shortly after the person(s) move in, to communicate that the community is happy to have them here. This person brings a basket/bag of goodies like jam, soup and other items that may appeal to new residents. She attends Common Time, or other community social events, with the new person(s) where she introduces them to residents. She sometimes hosts a cocktail reception in her unit for newcomers, depending on circumstances. She organizes the guests and table seating for their complimentary dinner. The committee works closely with the Community Director.
NOTE: renters do not receive baskets per policy.
The Wellness Committee, formerly known as Health and Fitness Committee, plans and carries out activities to enhance the continuing physical and emotional well-being of residents. A current example is the offering of a series of video lectures and discussions on various aspects of aging.
The committee assists in facilitating onsite activities, such as on-site yoga classes, that promote healthy lifestyles, maintains current waivers for use of the Fitness Center, trains residents on equipment and updates records in the Library.
An on-site flu vaccination clinic is sponsored annually.
We function as a committee that supports and encourages personal responsibility for ourselves as we age. We have sought to provide information to residents to enhance wellness in mind, body and spirit.
Asa Gray Day:
This committee plans and carries out the biennial Asa Gray lecture including the special cocktail event that follows it.
Special Interest Groups:
University Commons residents who have an interest in a specific topic or activity. Any resident may participate in one of these groups, such as:
- Baker’s Dozen Book Club
- Bridge Group
- Shakespeare Reading Group
- Rudolf Steiner Study Group
Groups with Resident and Non-Resident Members
These groups must have University Commons resident members who take an active part in running the group’s activities. The Board of Directors reviews permission for these groups to use University Commons’ facilities on an annual basis.
- Ikebana Group
- International Neighbors Needlework Group
- Investment Study Group
- Tai Chi
- OLLI Classes
Appointment of Ad Hoc Committees
With the advice and consent of the Board, the President may appoint a special group to deal with a focused, time-limited opportunity or problem. Ad hoc committees work within a defined time period and report directly to the President.