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Budget Updates and Cost-cutting Suggestions on Blackboard

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
March 25, 2009

Some of the suggestions presented in response to President Mark Huddleston’s solicitation for ideas on saving the university money are free and so simple we should all start doing them immediately.

For example, powering down daily or weekly rather than only during winter holidays. (It’s so easy: unplug, unplug, unplug.) And shutting off hallway lights at night. Keeping the printing of emails and attachments to a minimal. Really, how much does any of this cost?

And yet the opposite costs us plenty.

Energy conservation is one of the top areas where the UNH community sees money can be saved. The complete list of ideas, along with budget updates, are now on Blackboard where faculty, staff and students can review the suggestions and make comments. All it takes is a Blackboard account.

More than 150 ideas have been submitted since the account budget.suggestions@unh.edu was created. All of the suggestions will be reviewed by the President’s Cabinet and the Central Budget Committee.

“I have been impressed by the quantity and quality of suggestions. The community has demonstrated very thoughtfully how much they want to help with this present budget crisis while preserving UNH’s core mission and purpose,” says Dick Cannon, vice president for finance and administration. “Some ideas lend themselves to implementation almost immediately; others will require a phase in and a final group further study--for example determining a return on investment. I am confident we will benefit measurably from this process.”  

A sample of other energy saving ideas include using programmable thermostats, switching to LED lighting and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Suggestions for saving money in academic programming include implementing extensive online/distance learning classes, offering more night and weekend classes and eliminating courses below a certain enrollment. The idea to close the campus on Fridays could fall under both categories.

In the area of telecommunications, there are suggestions to eliminate landline phones across campus and to use Skype for all international calls when possible. Facilities could save money, one suggestion notes, by closing the university at 4 p.m. and shutting down the heat and electricity.

There is mention of closing for a week in the summer as we do in December (the week of July 4th so only four vacation days would have to be used) while someone else suggests eliminating winter break and starting the semester sooner. Another idea is to offer early retirement packages more often and with fewer restrictions. And to stop using bottled water (the water cooler kind) on campus.

For a complete list of suggestions, or to make one of your own, log onto Blackboard. If you don’t have an account, go to https://blackboard.unh.edu, click on “Help for MY UNH/Blackboard.” After you set up your account, select “Orgs and Depts” from the tabs at the top of the page. Once there, a menu on the left allows access to the ideas list, budget letters, a summary of a March 11 budget summit, and the discussion board.

If you need assistance with Blackboard, call the help desk at 2-4242


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