The last year has been a productive one for TUARA. While we haven’t been able to meet in person as much as we would have liked, we have continued to work toward our goals of advocating for retirees’ benefits in Montgomery and on campus, serving the University and our community, and providing informative programs and social gatherings for our members.
TUARA is an active unit of the Alabama Education Retirees Association (AERA). We have AERA’s legislative advocacy to thank for the bonus checks we received in April 2022. We have supported AERA’s efforts by informing you about legislative activity in Montgomery though email updates and our website. Please continue to watch for Act Now messages and contact your legislators when we ask you to in the future. It really does make a difference!
Within the University, we have TUARA representatives on a number of major committees to ensure retiree voices are heard on campus. We are pleased to report that TUARA now has an office at UA, room 254 Ancillary Services building, where we can work and host small meetings.
TUARA’s community service this year included becoming a community partner of Reading Allies, a University of Alabama System initiative focusing on elementary literacy, and encouraging our members to serve as volunteer tutors in schools throughout the city and county. In addition, thanks to your donations, we collected more than 180 pounds of food for the Beat Auburn Beat Hunger campaign. And many of you made valuable gifts of books and funds to UA’s Books for the Black Belt project at our annual meeting this spring. Thanks to your volunteerism and contributions, TUARA received an award for community service from AERA for 2021-2022.
TUARA also supports the University by awarding the Robert E. Witt First-Generation Scholarship to four students each academic year. These $500 need-based scholarships provide valuable support to sophomores from the state of Alabama and demonstrate TUARA’s commitment to giving back to UA.
This year, we have initiated the “What I Know Now” project. While still in the developmental phase, WIKN recognizes that UA retirees are in that stage of life where they may be providing care for a parent, a spouse or another loved one and seeks to address a critical gap that exists in resources for caregivers. By drawing on the caregiving experiences of UA retirees, we hope to create a base of potential support that allows for more personal and confidential interactions regarding specific challenges. Watch for more details as this project gets underway in the coming months.
TUARA has worked hard to provide useful and informative programs this year despite the limitations of the pandemic. Many of you attended our Meet Us At the Deck event last fall when members gathered at the Campus Drive parking deck to renew their parking tags, get new ACT cards and visit with friends and colleagues. In addition, we had a virtual membership meeting and continued our virtual TUARA Talks series. We were very pleased to have our annual spring luncheon, hosted by UA President Stuart Bell, for the first time in three years.
The TUARA Executive Board appreciates the privilege of serving UA’s retired faculty and staff. We invite you to visit our website and follow us on Facebook. Please watch for emails from TUARA and contact us with your questions, suggestions and concerns.
TUARA President, 2021-2023