A Message from Executive Director Ann Holt

Dear Campus Club Members,

I hope this letter finds you all safe and well in this challenging year! I also want to express our deep thanks to all of you who used the Club this fall, tried out our new takeout and delivery service, and continued your membership. Thanks also to those of you who reached out with messages of encouragement, they helped keep us going through a difficult fall. Now, as we close for another extended period many of you have questions about the Club and our plans during the closure for staff, membership, and how you can help to maintain the Club until we can reopen.

Most Campus Club staff will be furloughed for December through April while access to the University and the Club is limited. It is in our best interests, however, to give our employees the support they need during this time so that they will return to the Club when we reopen. I cannot overstate the importance of retaining our current team of professional staff who are dedicated to making the Club such an asset for the University community. To that end, the Campus Club will pay health insurance premiums for our full time employees while they are furloughed.

At the same time, we are working hard to find creative ventures wherever possible for our employees. Specifically, we are participating in a great program through Second Harvest Heartland that will keep some kitchen staff employed part time through December and into 2021. This program merits some discussion. It is a relatively new venture by Second Harvest called Minnesota Central Kitchen. It uses the food product resources and distribution network of Second Harvest and provides meals for people in need, prepared in restaurant and catering kitchens with excess capacity. Thanks to our executive chef Beth Jones and her wide array of contacts, the Campus Club now provides about 950 meals per week to Loaves and Fishes, which distributes them through community sites in the Twin Cities. One site is just downstairs from us in Coffman Union. It serves University of Minnesota students who are experiencing food insecurity. The Campus Club is making about 300 meals per week for distribution to students identified by Nutritious U/Swipe Out Hunger. If funds are available from Second Harvest we may be able to increase the number of meals we prepare and keep our staff employed into the new year.

Your membership in the Club will remain active while we are closed. If you are able to continue to pay dues for the next two months, please consider doing so. We need this money to pay for fixed expenses including health insurance for furloughed staff, rent, utilities, insurance, software and more. Even when we are closed, the Club will pay between $12,000 and $15,000 per month just to maintain current contracts. Canceling them would cost even more and delay our restart in 2021. However, if you cannot justify the cost of dues while we are closed, we will suspend your account for a couple months, restart the membership in May and bill the dues at that time. Email if you would like to suspend your membership until we reopen in May.

I’m confident that when it is safe to resume regular operations, you will have a vibrant and busy Club to return to, but until then we are going to have some challenging months. There are a number of things you can do to help us if you are able:

  • Keep your membership. Please pay the dues if you can, but even if you can’t right now please let us still count you as a member so we can keep you informed about the Club.
  • A Feast of Words is going online this year! Join us online at 7pm on February 18th via Zoom for a conversation with Emeritus Professor Dr. John S. Wright about his intellectual forebearers and the African American renaissance men and women who inspire his work. 
  • Come to our remote wine class with Sommelier Jason Kallsen and Chef Beth Jones on March 4th. We'll be exploring the core wines of Austria along with the regions they are from. We will also learn how to make a Crispy Spaetzle with Sausage and Winter Vegetables. $25 per household connection and non-members are welcome!

Thank you again for your continued support of the Campus Club during this extremely difficult year. We are doing all we can to keep the Club going, support our wonderful staff, continue to serve our members and the University community while at the same time exploring creative options for keeping the business viable and serving those in need.

I wish you all a joyous and safe new year and look forward to seeing you in May.

Ann Holt
Executive Director