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Already In Gear For the New Year

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
August 22, 2007


Shortly after commencement, the parking department had already sold more than 2,650 student permits. On May 21, the folks in the housing office began preparing for the 6,700 students it will provide rooms for this year. And in June, dining services started hiring the 16 new employees needed for the upcoming semester.

So, while the new school year begins in less than two weeks, the planning has been in the works for months.

As early as March, the parking department began inventorying and ordering permits. Letters to students—both new and returning—were mailed in late April and May. Renewal preview letters were sent to faculty and staff around the same time. And during the past two months, last year’s files and forms were cleared out and eligibility information was fed into the online permit store.

“As it is for most campus offices, the first week of school is pretty crazy. In recent years through online sales and renewal programs, we have been able to eradicate the extremely long lines that used to exit the building and head down the sidewalk, in favor of seasonably large but tolerable lines at the service counter,” says Marc Laliberte, parking operations manager.

Dining Services knows about seasonably large lines. To prepare for the onslaught, the full staff will report back to work about 10 days before the semester begins (classes start Sept. 4) and help get the dining halls ready. Indications are it will be another busy year.


“Our ID office has already processed some 2,700 ID and meal plan purchases in anticipation of the opening,” says Jon Plodzik, director of dining.

His crew spent the summer working on the enormous menu cycle to build up recipes, adjust offerings and create new specialties. And, dining service has purchased about $93,000 worth of new equipment ranging from plates to trays to refrigerators in anticipation of increased meal demands.

“These days we make about 30 pizzas a day,” Plodzik says. “We will be making 450 per day the opening week.”

The bulk of his management staff will be working 60-70 hours a week for the first several weeks as staff and guests get oriented into the program, Plodzik adds. Additionally they will hire about 130 new student associates to fill open shifts.

In the housing office, demand exists all year long. Summer school follows immediately on the heels of graduation so some dorms had to be readied back in May. Various camps and conferences continue well into August.

“People are always saying, ‘What do you do all summer?’ as though there’s nothing going on and really, it’s our busiest time,” says William Conk, director of housing.

By the end of June, the arduous task of freshmen room assignments had begun and then the rest of the summer has been spent fielding questions, responding to requests for changes and reshuffling those rooms assigned to students who decided not to attend UNH.

“It’s very, very intense behind the scenes,” Conk says of the process. “We do get building requests and do try to honor those but roommates are our number one priority.”

The residence halls are cleaned top to bottom before students return, including the furniture, creating a constant juggling act to determine which dorms were vacant and could be cleaned and which were occupied with people attending summer programs.

This summer the housing department also had to deal with emptying out Fairchild and the mini dorms to make way for renovations and new construction.

“It takes a great amount of coordination,” Conk says.


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