While Susan Hardesty and her husband, West Virginia University President David Hardesty, have always contributed to the United Way, it wasn’t until this year that she became fully aware of the impact that United Way agencies have on the community.

After being named chair of the University’s campaign earlier this year, Hardesty, the national chair of the Universitys Mountaineer Parents Club, began learning as much as she could about the 27 United Way agencies that serve Monongalia and Preston counties. She visited nine of the local agencies that receive funding and became familiar with the programs of the others.

“I have witnessed first-hand the acts of kindness and compassion that these agencies offer. They do it without asking why someone needs clothing or food or medicine or shelterthey simply attempt to fulfill the needs of those folks in our community who have no where else to turn,”she said.”I can’t imagine what our community would be like without these agencies.”

Among her challenges as campaign chair is convincing WVU employees that the United Way has an impact on the lives of everyone in the community. With a long list of agenciesranging from Girl Scouts and American Red Cross to Literacy Volunteers of America and Bartlett House Homeless Sheltershe anticipates this should be an easy task.

“I suspect that if employees look at the list of agencies that their United Way dollars will support, they will find at least one that has benefitted them or a member of their family personally,”she said.

And, she noted, WVU employees are naturally caring, generous people.

“I have sensed over the past eight years that the faculty and staff at WVU care about students and parents, and I think they care about people in general and about the health and well-being of our community. That’s why so many folks at WVU give to the United Waywe are a caring community,”she added.

The WVU campaign, part of the West Virginia State Employees Combined Campaign, begins Monday, Sept. 15, with a noon kick-off luncheon at Erickson Alumni Center to announce the goal and various ways of giving. The campaign will continue through Oct. 31.

Over a hundred volunteers help coordinate the campaign within their various schools, colleges and units. WVU employees have traditionally been one of the largest contributors to the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties.