Thousands Attend Fall Festival for CUIMC Employees

Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Thousands of CUIMC employees were treated to apple cider donuts, warm soup, music, and festivities at the Fall Holiday Festival on Nov. 23 in Haven Plaza.

smiling people with hot soup at autumn festival
CUIMC employees at this year’s Employee Appreciation Fall Festival enjoyed warm soup, apple cider donuts, and appreciation from CUIMC administrators for going above and beyond. Photo: Sirin Samman.

At the event, winners of the CUIMC Digital Steps Challenge-a three-week competition among individual employees and teams-were announced and presented with prizes. Kris Machado-Mirasola, senior human resources representative, racked up the greatest number of steps in the competition-563,847-to win the challenge’s Most Valuable Player award. In the team competition, VP&S won the “Went the Distance” Award with the greatest number of steps and CUIMC central administration won the “Stepped It Up” Award for the highest average step count.

MVP of CUIMC Digital Steps Challenge poses with his winner's certificate
Kris Machado-Mirasola, left, won the CUIMC Steps Competition with 563,847 steps through a combination of walking, jogging, and indoor cycling. “The competition was a great opportunity to get more exercise into my daily routine and to try to shed some of my ‘COVID weight,'” Machado-Mirasola says. “Walking was already built in to my daily commute, but [with the competition] I leapt at any opportunity to use my feet: taking the longer, scenic route, using stairs instead of elevators, or pacing while on phone calls.” Photo: Sirin Samman.

“High Stepper” awards, for other team members with the greatest number of steps, were presented to:

  • Karen Wisdom, CUIMC central administration, 540,021 steps
  • Claire Chen, VP&S, 475,155 steps
  • Kelly Hafermann, School of Nursing, 375,265 steps
  • Yasmin Tontat, College of Dental Medicine, 326,555 steps
  • Therese McGinn, Mailman School of Public Health, 267,963 steps

Toy Drive kicks off

cuimc toy drive collection boxes
The annual CUIMC Toy Drive, organized by the CUIMC Office of Government and Community Affairs, brings holiday cheer to neighborhood children. Photo: Sirin Samman.

The CUIMC Toy Drive for neighborhood children got off to a good start at the Employee Appreciation Fall Festival and will continue through Thursday, Dec. 16. Toys are distributed to daycare centers, Head Start programs, and community-based organizations that serve families in the Washington Heights/Inwood community.

New, unwrapped toys for children ages 3 to 10 can be dropped off at:

  • Allan Rosenfield Building (Mailman), Lobby
  • Hammer Health Sciences Center, Lower Level 1
  • School of Nursing Building, Lobby
  • 51 Audubon Avenue, Lobby

The Nov. 23 festival was the final event in the 2021 Employee Appreciation series, which included an ice cream social, talent show, and trivia tournament.

More photos

people stretching at outdoor exercise class
Columbia University ergonomist, Kevin Myers, center, demonstrated techniques designed to relieve stress and body tension. Photo Sirin Samman.
two people eating lunch at outdoor table
Fall Festival attendees enjoying sunny Haven Plaza. Photo: Sirin Samman.
people holding pumpkins
More than 1,400 pumpkins and winter squash, purchased from two farmers’ market vendors, were distributed at the Fall Festival. Photo: Sirin Samman.
jazz trio playing outdoors at fall festival
Haven Plaza was chilly but the sounds from a jazz band were hot. Photo: Sirin Samman.

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