Arts & Humanities

Zootah Gets Boost From USU CHaSS Staff

By Andrea DeHaan |

USU CHaSS staff volunteer at Zootah. From left: Nicole Despain, Brendan Lee, Carson Esplin, Kim Garrity, Julie Christiansen, and Natalie Smoot. (Photo Credit: Nathan Stewart)

LOGAN — Staff in the USU College of Humanities and Social Sciences spent this year’s retreat completing a local service project. This opportunity saw CHaSS staff members spend the morning of Aug. 11 volunteering at Logan’s Zootah.

Close to 30 staff from across 10 departments attended this year’s staff retreat and service project.

“It was great to see everyone plucked from their routines and different corners of CHaSS to make some tangible progress together as a team,” said Brittney Allen, CHaSS outreach coordinator.

The project included raking grassy areas, trimming bushes, removing debris from the canal, portioning food, and using recycled materials like peacock feathers to construct cat toys for some of the zoo's feline residents.

CHaSS’ staff was supervised by Nick Sutphin, Zootah’s operation manager.

“The group's enthusiasm and ‘what's next’ mentality was extremely refreshing and it was a pleasure to host,” Sutphin said. “The work done not only allowed the staff more time to improve the enclosures and train with their animals but helped provide a greater experience for visitors by creating a more sightly environment.”

The annual retreat for staff is organized by the CHaSS Staff Advisory Committee, a group made up of fellow employees to provide professional development, enrichment and social experiences for non-faculty, benefitted employees. Separate from the annual college assembly, the yearly CHaSS staff retreat typically blends informational activities with a social gathering. This is the first time staff was invited to participate in a service project.

Additional activities included lunch and a staff bingo game intended to help employees spread across multiple buildings and departments get to know each other and socialize, something the committee considered essential coming out of COVID restrictions.

Bobbee Russell, the staff assistant in the Department of Journalism & Communication, enjoyed this year’s event: “I had a blast in a change of scenery and being able to give back to the community with colleagues I don't see very often.”

The committee received a lot of positive feedback about the 2022 staff retreat and will look for additional ways to make connections with the community at large while continuing to foster collaboration and camaraderie among the nearly 60 staff employed by the college.

A cornerstone of Utah State University, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences brings together faculty members engaged in original research and creative activities to teach and mentor students who aspire to be leaders in their professions and communities. Degrees in humanities and social sciences cultivate highly-adaptable professional skills in students through teaching effective communication, research, data analysis, and creative problem-solving.


Andrea DeHaan
Content Writer
College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Humanities 69stories

Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.

Next Story in Arts & Humanities

See Also