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Councils Start New Year With Joint Retreat

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
January 16, 2008

The EEC, PAT and OS Councils got together this month for their annual retreat to discuss collective issues they want to address during the coming year. The day-long event was held at the Alumni Center on Jan. 9.

Each council took an hour in the morning to conduct their individual business and then came back together for two topical forums. The first had Wanda Mitchell, chief diversity officer, Rochelle L’Italien, dietitian, and Elizabeth Farrell and Brett Pasinella of the Office of Sustainability, discussing lifestyle issues at UNH.

Prior to the forum, each gave an overview of their area with Mitchell discussing diversity, L’Italien speaking on health and wellness, and Farrell presenting an overview of the Office of Sustainability’s work.

“Each of you can make a difference. One person with the title of chief diversity officer can only do so much,” Mitchell said. “Diversity should be woven into the very fiber of all the things we do.”

L’Italien led the group through a food meditation aimed at helping people think differently about eating.

“All foods can fit,” L’Italien said. “The key is how much and how often.”

UNH’s Office of Sustainability is the oldest endowed sustainability program in higher education in the country, according to Farrell, who touched on the numerous initiatives the office supports. Those include biodiversity education; climate education; food and science; and culture and sustainability.

The second forum addressed development issues on campus and included Tom Franke, Computing and Information Services; Doug Bencks and Stephen Pesci, Campus Planning; and Sarah Gnerre UNH Foundation.

Franke spoke to the increasing security threats computer use presents.

“It used to be it was pranksters doing the hacking. Now the threats are led by organized crime,” Franke said. As a result, UNH is moving toward the elimination of social security numbers as the primary form of student identification. Franke said they also will be working to create strong security programs.

Bencks outlined the numerous major projects either in progress or set to be launched this year. They include the methane gas pipeline now in the works that will provide most of UNH’s energy needs; the research pier in New Castle; the demolition and rebuilding of Demeritt Hall; the planned additions to James Hall and Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory; and the renovation of Fairchild, New Hampshire Hall; and Huddleston Hall.

Additionally, the railroad station is undergoing renovations and bike lanes will be carved out on the west end of Main Street as they have been on the eastern side.

Gnerre is a senior associate with the foundation’s major gift program. She briefly explained the process of working with alumni to make donations, pointing out that UNH’s 110,000 living alumni represent the largest percentage of donors.

She also noted the foundation is only about 17 years old, young in comparison to many universities, and that during the last campaign, there were 18 gifts of $1 million or more.

The day ended with the councils identifying three shared priorities: improving communication methods to constituents, creating solutions to combat the rising cost of health care, and showing and promoting existing efficiencies that save money and contain costs.

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