The proceeds generated from an estimated 300 tickets sold for the University of Central Arkansas’ Staff Senate’s annual Winter Feast will benefit almost 50 angels from this year’s Angel Bear Program. 

“Winter Feast is an annual event sponsored by the Staff Senate, the President’s Office, Aramark, and Advancement. Ticket sales from the event support Staff Senate’s Angel Bear Tree program. The Angel Bear Tree program provides holiday gifts to dependents of staff members in need of financial assistance,” Nadia Eslinger, UCA Staff Senate president, said. 

The annual celebration—traditionally held in the UCA Student Center Ballroom—was moved in 2019 to the HPER center on campus to make room for more guests, Eslinger said. 

The yearly event is exclusively for the faculty and staff of UCA.

UCA Director for the Center for Leadership Development Steven Shook has been involved with the Angel Bear for three to four years through Staff Senate. 

“This program is completely independent of my current job as the Director of the Center for Leadership. However, as a Staff Senate senator this is one of the committees that our governing body oversees,” Shook said.

When asked about the importance of programs like the Angel Bear Program on the UCA campus, Shook said, “I think the one theme that sticks out to me ties back to one of the universities core values of community.” 

“Our whole community is built upon a foundation of service to others over self. If you look around, you will see MANY programs and events focused on serving those most in need on and off-campus. I am honored to be a very small part of that. The Angel Bear program continues to be one of the many robust projects that we lead on campus,” Shook said. 

The Staff Senate took over the Angel Bear Program in the winter of 1999, Eslinger said. 

“I have been on Staff Senate for almost five years and that is how I got involved with Angel Bear,” Eslinger said.  

The Staff Senate organizes the application process for the Angel Bear Program and decorates the trees on campus for people to adopt an angel and then distributes the gifts, Eslinger said. 

The UCA Outreach and Community Engagement on campus are involved in the yearly program. 

“We have participated for as long as I can remember, whether individually or as a department,” Shaneil Ealy, associate vice president of the UCA Outreach and Community Engagement, said. 

“Bears support Bears, and the Angel Bear Program is just one of the ways in which we rally together to take care of each other. Supporting as a department is so meaningful and a way we can serve together. Whether donating money or going shopping as a group, it’s definitely a fun and rewarding experience,” Ealy said. 

The mission of the UCA Staff Senate is to represent, serve and recognize the UCA staff. 

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