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
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
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.