It's a U of G tradition for Old Jeremiah to participate in the annual United Way kick-off.

It’s a U of G tradition for Old Jeremiah to be part of the annual United Way kick-off.

The University’s annual United Way fundraising campaign will kick-off with a barbecue Sept. 24 in the newly renovated Branion Plaza. The lunch-time event will officially open the plaza and announce the University’s United Way goal for 2013.

“We thought it was a great idea to combine these two special events,” says Prof. Stuart McCook, co-chair of the U of G United Way committee. “Both play a huge role in the life of the University. Branion Plaza claims space at the heart of the campus, but year after year it’s the United Way campaign that brings out the true heart of the campus community.

“U of G has an incredible network of volunteers and donors who are committed to the United Way and the services it provides,” adds McCook, associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Arts. Included in that network are his 2013 co-chairs: Kim Best, department and undergraduate secretary in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and undergraduate students Remy Marlatt, marketing management, and Jolène Labbé, arts and science.

They’ll all be selling hot dogs, pop, popcorn and candy floss in Branion Plaza from 11a.m. to 1p.m.

President Alastair Summerlee will announce U of G’s United Way goal and invite campus volunteers to join Prof. Maurice Nelischer in officially re-opening Branion Plaza. An emeritus professor in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Nelischer led this year’s plaza redesign along with staff members in Physical Resources.

The cannon has been moved north a few paces but is still on the same patch of grass it has occupied since 1973. This makes room for a grass seating knoll that Nelischer predicts will become a student favourite. Other features include a new stage area, brick walkways and much more seating, as well as improvements to drainage that will make it easier to maintain the area.

Nelischer says the updated plaza still reflects U of G history and environmental values while creating a gathering place ideal for events like the United Way launch.

From the Sept. 24 kick-off to campaign closing on Dec. 1, the University’s United Way website will be accessible from the U of G home page. Check the website, advises Best, for campaign updates and a listing of special events, including a new Family Carnival fundraiser sponsored by the labour groups on campus.

Running from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, the Family Carnival will be held on Johnston Green (rain location: UC courtyard). Music with Brian – plus Melody the Hippo and Alan the Lion – will entertain from 2 to 3 p.m. Other fun stuff includes face painting, bounce house, hot dogs and burgers for a $1 donation to the United Way.

The annual College Idol talent show will be held Oct. 31. The event includes entertainment, lunch provided by Hospitality Services, and prizes for the best Halloween costumes. Tickets are $13 each or $11 when you book a table for eight; order by email to

If you’d like to compete in the College Idol talent show – as an individual or group – contact organizer Jennifer Beehler at

Over the next two weeks, United Way pledge forms will be distributed to employees and retirees by campaign volunteers but also available for download from the website. However you choose to give – payroll deduction, cheque, cash or credit card – fill out a pledge form to be entered in four weekly draws, beginning Oct. 4. Prizes include homemade products donated by U of G staff, gift baskets and certificates from local businesses and a Hillside Festival weekend pass. Visit for a list of prizes.

Pledge forms received in Revenue Control by 3 p.m. Wednesdays will be entered in that Friday’s draw and all subsequent draws, including a grand-prize draw on Dec. 6. The top prizes are a $500 gift certificate donated by Stone Road Mall, a $500 RRSP given by TD Canada Trust, and a one-year parking pass from U of G Parking Services.

Students can enter the incentive draws by submitting a pledge form, or they can donate to the United Way from their meal plan, at special United Way events (follow the website) and by giving $1 with a purchase at the University Bookstore.