UMPD gets creative in raising money for fund drive

The deputy police chief will dress as a zombie if enough money is raised.

Andy Steinke

Every year, University staff and employees are asked to raise money for a Community Fund Drive. The money from the drive goes to organizations that support social services, education, health and the arts.

This year, the 47 college and administrative staffs, which consist of hundreds of departments, were asked to donate $1.25 million.

This year’s drive ended yesterday.

Bonnie Marten, a coordinator for the drive’s planning committee, said the University doesn’t reach its lofty goals most years. But that doesn’t keep University departments from having fun with it.

The Department of Public Safety had its own motivation for reaching its goal the past two years: watching their boss dress up for Halloween.

This year, Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson will dress as a zombie for a day. That is, if the department reaches its goal of 75 percent participation.

“They already did me,” Police Chief Greg Hestness said, “so they went after Johnson this year.”

Last year, Hestness agreed to wear a pumpkin suit if 75 percent of the department donated to the drive.

Because of a running joke around the office, Johnson will wear zombie makeup next Wednesday if the department reaches its goal.

The pending two-hour makeup session didn’t deter Johnson from giving to the drive himself.

Johnson will have his makeup done by Tessie Bundick in the University’s Rarig Center.

“I’ve warned him a million times how awful (the process) is going to be,” Bundick said.

She insists he will look as dead as possible, which means she’ll play with his hair, his face, his hands and his teeth.

“He is great,” she said. “Most guys in his position wouldn’t do this.”

Hestness didn’t leave the office much last year when he was dressed in a pumpkin costume, Johnson said, but the zombie makeup won’t change how Johnson goes about his day.

“I don’t want to cause any accidents,” Johnson said, “but I will go about my normal business day, so we’ll see what happens.”

He was going to wear the makeup on Halloween, but the department was still a few donations short of its goal. He has decided to allow the department the last day of the drive to reach the goal.

Last year 74 of 95 people – nearly 78 percent of the department – donated just over $7,700 to see Hestness don the pumpkin costume.

Hestness said his assistant came up with the costume idea.

“I think she was relatively kind in her choice,” he said.

The idea was to motivate more people in the department to donate to the drive. The department has had 55 percent, 65 percent and 78 percent participation in the past three years, Marten said.

Hestness kept up his end of the bargain.

“I wore it all day long,” he said. “I stayed a little later than usual to let the night shift see the fruits of their donations.”