Story by Bailey Bohannan, Staff writer
The Racer Proud Pin program is designed to instantly recognize faculty and staff members who go above their job description and out of their way for students on the Murray State campuses.
“We see faculty and staff go above and beyond for students every day,” said Adrienne King, vice president of Marketing and Outreach. “This is an opportunity to recognize them right in the moment instead of waiting for three months later at an award ceremony or a lunch in.”
Murray State has ordered 25,000 pins for faculty and staff members on all of Murray State’s campuses. Pins are then distributed to Pin Ambassadors who are on the look-out for faculty and staff members going out of their way to keep Murray State a student-centered campus, King said.
The first recipient of the Racer Proud Pins was Jerry O’Bryan, a transportation specialist in facilities management, and his team who helped a student fix a flat tire on their lunch break.
O’Bryan said he does not fix flat tires, pull people out of the snow or turn around and come back to campus after he has left for recognition, but it was an honor for him to be recognized with a Racer Proud Pin. As soon as O’Bryan received his Racer Proud Pin, he started looking for another person to pass it to.
O’Bryan said having the pin made him look a little closer at what members of faculty and staff were doing for students. He said he always knew Rick Fisher, who works in the Institute for International Studies, went beyond his job description to help out international students, but being able to pass down the pin and recognize Fisher for doing so meant more to him than receiving the pin himself.
“It meant more to me to pass it on to someone who knows, has and does go above and beyond to help someone in need,” O’Bryan said.
Fisher drives international students to and from airports, but what received recognition was opening his heart and home to international students and giving them someone in America to rely on.
“I was just trying to help kids,” Fisher said. “They are a long way from home and they need somebody in America to look after them sometimes. It is just a great chance for me to meet different people from different cultures.”
Fisher has been working at Murray State since 2005 and said that since then he has helped out countless international students from dozens of countries.
These pins were passed from staff member to staff member, but as the Racer Proud Pin program picks up speed, students can nominate faculty and staff members, recipients of the pins will be displayed in weekly e-newsletters and the pins will hold more symbolism as people begin to recognize them, King said.
The Racer Proud Pins are to be a symbol of recognition from one colleague to another.
“If I see a fellow colleague do something, I can recognize them from colleague to colleague,” King said. “It does not have to be any more than that.”
The Racer Proud Pins are a symbol for students to know they can rely on that member of faculty or staff.
“I am not doing it to try and get myself recognized,” Fisher said. “I am just trying to help the kids.”
The Racer Proud Pins are a symbol of Murray State’s devotion for being student-centered.
“It is not about what I have to do or what you have to do,” O’Bryan said. “It is about what we can do for each other.”