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Staff Fest returns Friday to celebrate Emory employees

Staff Fest, the time-honored annual celebration of Emory’s staff, returns Friday on the Quad. All current staff members and retirees are invited to come out to share a meal and engage in a variety of free activities. Most activities take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Staff Fest is one of the great traditions at Emory.  As a special way of thanking the staff for their dedication and commitment to the university, Staff Fest offers a day of food, fun and celebration,” says Del King, vice president for human resources. 

Building off of Emory’s strategic framework, this year’s Staff Fest theme is “One Emory – Engaged for Impact.” The event, traditionally held the Friday after Commencement, is so popular that Staff Fest 2019 T-shirts are already sold out. 

“Staff Fest always feels a little bit like a family reunion to me,” says Paul Ficklin-Alred, Emory Employee Council president. “I like walking around for a while looking for familiar faces, catching up with people I’ve known for years but haven’t seen in a while.” 

He adds, “It’s the best kind of meeting: no business, no agenda, no task list, no PowerPoint, just fun in the sun, good company and good food.”

Here are a few of the day’s highlights: 

Fun Run/Fun Walk

The day always begins with the Fun Run/Fun Walk offering all participants the opportunity to run, walk or do a little of both while the temperature is still reasonable. Open to all Emory employees, the Fun Run/Walk starts at Asbury Circle and ends on the Quad. The race begins at 10:30 a.m. with check-in time by 10:15 a.m.

Volleyball tournaments

Also beginning at 10:30 a.m. is the volleyball tournament, a tradition of fierce and friendly competition. The teams have been assembled and signed up and will start playing for the gold on two courts set up on the Quad. Come cheer on a team or just be amazed at the moves sparked by the competitive spirit of these games.

Other activities

A variety of familiar, fun entertainment options will be offered on the Quad, including a DJ and dancing, a rock wall for climbing; Zumba exercise groups; and more sedately, face painting, caricatures and green screen photos.

Also, there will be games on the Quad, including a basketball hoop, cornhole, giant Connect Four, and football inflatable games. 


Food is always a highlight of Staff Fest, which again offers a full lunch catered by Jim ’N Nick's Bar-B-Q. The food tent will open at 11:30 a.m. and food will be served while quantities last.

On the menu for entrees are chopped beef brisket and pulled chicken or a vegetarian option of black bean burgers and grilled Portobello mushroom caps. 

Side dishes are fresh fruit, potato salad, vegetarian baked beans and the awesome cheese biscuits. 

Cookies and lemon pie squares are on offer for dessert.

A variety of Coke products will be available for lunch and throughout the day, donated by Staff Fest partner Coca-Cola. 

Ice cream and popcorn are provided on the Quad throughout Staff Fest. 

Water bottles

To help Emory with its sustainability goals, attendees are asked to bring their own reusable water bottles to limit how many plastic bottles are distributed. Refill stations will be available on the Quad. Disposing of your food waste properly helps make Staff Fest a sustainable event.


Staff Fest is a Zero Landfill Waste event, and help is needed in assisting attendees with properly sorting their waste into compost and recycle bins. You can sign up to be a Staff Fest Zero Waste Ambassador to keep Emory moving toward its goal of 95 percent diversion of waste from landfills by 2025.

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