Don’t let the empty streets and deserted classrooms fool you – there is plenty going on behind the scenes on the College of Charleston campus.
Take, for example, the work of the Office of Business and Auxiliary Services (BUAS) staff, who are busy processing mail, serving meals, fulfilling orders for course materials and answering printing requests – among many other things. They are, as Director of Mail Services Kenny Greene says, “working to keep the university running while being innovative to meet the customers’ needs.”
“As much as we enjoy learning new ways to meet our customers’ needs,” adds BUAS Director Amy Orr, “we can’t wait to welcome students back into our residence halls and dining facilities, and for the entire College family to utilize our campus services again.”
In the meantime, let’s take a look behind those scenes.
Despite campus deliveries being suspended in March, the Office of Mail Services has nine staff members who come to campus to process transcripts and bills and to sort and deliver items to the Ashley and Cooper locker banks in the mail services lobby.
“We are the gatekeepers of communication with the university,” says Greene, director of mail services, noting that the office has made several modifications to its operations for safety purposes.
Modifications include expanding the parcel locker-bank service to faculty and staff – something that seems to be going over very well. In fact, the mail services team placed more than 1,000 items in the lockers in April, and employees retrieved them, at their convenience, more than 375 times.
Another positive that’s come from the experience, says Greene, is the opportunity his team has had for professional development.
“My team is used to a fast-paced working environment – and, before COVID, they never had time to take advantage of distance-learning opportunities,” he says. “They’ve been taking passport training and estate planning classes in Deer Oaks, which has been eye-opening.”
Dining Services continues to serve a small population of on-campus residents and local students in need – albeit with some modifications.
“We’ve maintained a weekly to-go meal-service operation during lunch hours through the City Bistro late-night window,” says Adam Nevill, Aramark resident district manager of College of Charleston Dining Services. “We also instituted online ordering for meal kits for breakfast and dinner options that include pre-made meal solutions as well as grocery and heat-and-serve meal choices from our Market 159 inventory. We’ve added other products, such as Einstein Bros. sandwiches, to the menu offerings.”
The dining staff has also taken many precautions to meet the social distancing regulations – creating social distancing markers for those waiting in line and reducing the number of seats in City Bistro’s outdoor seating area. The staff members are all ServSafe trained and follow stringent protocols for hand washing and glove wearing. They also sanitize the outdoor seating and ordering areas twice each day.
They are also are protecting themselves.
“We’ve been following a two-shift scheduling process so that we can distance each team away from the other in case there was a concern,” says Nevill, whose wife has even made cloth face masks for the staff. “We are also very conscious of our behaviors away from work, understanding that actions in our personal life can have implications to so many more than just ourselves.”
The College of Charleston Bookstore Manager Stephen Jones has been fulfilling and shipping online orders for Cougar gear and summer-term course materials.
“I’m also answering emails from concerned students and parents – primarily about due dates for rental books this semester, but also just questions about what fall semester and life is going to be like at the College in August,” says Jones. “I’m staying positive and supportive and helping out as much as I can with everyone I connect with.”
By alternating the days they work on campus, Copy Center Director Cheryl Connor and Operations Manager Sheree Grant are able to keep up with printing orders. When they’re on campus, they fulfill the orders and deliver them in the mail services locker banks for contact-free retrieval. When they’re working remotely, they are busy replying to emails and phone calls.
“The best part about working from home is that I’m working alongside my dogs!” says Connor. “I’m thankful for the College and the communication we’ve been receiving in the [virtual] town halls. The BUAS team has been a great support as well.”
A round of applause for all of the BUAS team for serving the CofC campus so effectively and safely!