Chair’s Note


At the age of sixteen and forced by my parents, I arrived in the United States one hot summer day in the month of August. Coming from a rural area in Central Mexico, I was shocked and overwhelmed by the immensity of the sprawling city. I was immediately confronted with the idea that the days I could get lost in the woods and play in the crystal-clear streams emanating from the moss-covered earth were long gone. Perhaps more devastating was the dooming thought that I could no longer communicate in my native language; and the hopelessness of being in a sea of difference and unfamiliarity. Like the trees I grew up with, I was uprooted and replanted in a land that at the time seemed so infertile.

My first glimpse into American customs came at a time when I missed home the most. Strange, yet so familiar, Thanksgiving gave me a sense of belonging and for the first time, an opportunity to participate in the process of acculturation. From that moment on, my identity began to shift and new roots began to sprout.

I hope that you always, but particularly this Thanksgiving, feel included and appreciated for who you are and what you bring into the mosaic forming the American landscape just like I was included from the moment I arrived in this land of opportunity years ago. At the same time, please extend the love and support you receive to others, particularly those who, for whatever reason, have been uprooted from their land and forced to sprout somewhere else. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the opportunity to spring new roots in a land that once seemed so unfamiliar and for the opportunities that WSU has afforded me. Moreover, I am thankful to be part of a community who continuously works in making others feel like they matter. This Thanksgiving season, what are you thankful for?

Ray Acuña-Luna

APAC Forums

APAC chair, Ray Acuña-Luna has spent the past few weeks visiting WSU Campuses across the state to hold forums with Administrative Professional employees. The objective of these forums is to provide the opportunity for APs to share what is working and not working for them on their campus and for APs to learn more about APAC and how to get involved. The next AP forum will be held in Pullman on November 29th from 8:30-10 a.m. in Lighty 405. Check out the full schedule on the APAC website.

All AP employees are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to become more informed about the activity of APAC and to voice any thoughts, suggestions, and concerns that will lead to an improved workplace and make Washington State University the best it can be.

APAC Survey

Thank you to all AP’s who took the time to participate in the AP survey the past few weeks. Just under 300 AP employees responded to the survey. The results will be complied and analyzed in the coming weeks. This data will be useful in setting goals and improving the workplace.

WSU Annual Food Drive

Each year WSU participates in a food drive to lend support to those who may find themselves without food during the holiday season. Where possible AP employees are encouraged to support the food drive. Provost Dan Bernardo will be matching any donations that are received by faculty and staff. Donations can be made at multiple locations across campus and can also be brought to the forum on November 29th or to the next AP monthly meeting on December 8th. Let’s make a difference this year!

Final Week of the Apple Cup Fitness challenge

Let’s all be winners on and off the field!

The newest SmartHealth activity, is a fun competition between WSU and UW benefit eligible faculty and staff. It is designed to improve your health, wellbeing, and team spirit by setting up a fitness competition between the faculty & staff of Washington State University and University of Washington who are Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) benefit eligible.

What is SmartHealth? SmartHealth is the State of Washington’s voluntary and confidential wellness program. It is an interactive website that helps you take steps to improve your health and well-being, while having fun and connecting with others online. You may be familiar with SmartHealth as the venue through which PEBB-eligible employees are able to earn the Wellness Incentive, the $125 benefit that comes in the form of a reduced medical deductible (for Classic and Value plan participants) or an increased HSA contribution (for CHDP participants).

If you are a PEBB eligible employee you are able to login with SmartHealth and start participating in the new Apple Cup Fitness Challenge!

  • The challenge starts Monday, October 17, and runs through Friday, November 18.
  • Each week, you use the SmartHealth Activity to log and track the number of minutes you are active – any activity counts: walking, running, biking, swimming, yard work, whatever gets your heart rate up!
  • Earn 75 points every week you track at least 30 minutes

Prizes! You can even win prizes by participating in the Challenge. WSU will be awarding two tickets to the SOLD OUT Apple Cup game, UREC passes, and Cougar gear!

For more information check out the Apple Cup Fitness Challenge webpage or contact HRS at or (509) 335-4521.

Upcoming APAC program

Our next APAC meeting is December 8th, 2016, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. The presenter are Adam Malcolm from the Attorney General’s office and Stephanie Kalasz.

Regular APAC meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of each month from 9:00-10:30 a.m. Meetings are broadcast via AMS. All AP Staff members are invited to attend. Can’t attend the meeting in person? Call in on the phone bridge at 509-335-9445, meeting ID is 02722. All meetings will be held in Lighty 405.