The following communication was sent to Auxiliary Services staff on Friday, March 13. 

Auxiliary Services aspires to provide the absolute best service we can to our campus community. You all do an amazing job of achieving that objective each day and I am grateful to all of you.

Looking forward, the university is anticipating significant changes coming in fall 2020. The opening of the new residence halls and the Iversen Center for Faith, the adoption of the campus-wide sustainability plan, and a focus on emergency preparedness all create new opportunities for us to assess current operations and adjust where warranted.

After evaluation and consideration of the current and future needs of the university and Auxiliary Services in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, Auxiliary Services is implementing a series of changes designed to prepare for ongoing and expanded operational needs along with ensuring efficiency across our departments and unit. A summary of the changes is below.

Dining Services will open a new residential dining facility in Tommie North

In line with the opening of two new residence halls as well as the need to prepare for catering for the opening of the Iversen Center for Faith, a second residential dining facility as well as a retail location will open inside Tommie North (the new first-year residence hall). The opening of this facility coincides with the closing of the Binz at the end of the spring semester. This shift in a residential dining location to north campus, coupled with staffing changes to support it, allows dining services to operate with the flexibility needed to maintain service and quality at all locations.

The Service Center will relocate to Murray-Herrick Campus Center and adopt newer printing technologies

The pace of technological change in printing is rapid, and our Service Center has the opportunity to rebrand itself and refocus on technologies that allow us to do jobs faster and with more efficiency. With these goals in mind, the Service Center will be relocating to the former post office space in the lower level of Murray Hall in fall 2020 and will streamline its staffing model to take advantage of efficiencies gained from new technology adoption as well as respond to changes in campus demand.

A new transportation group, blending current parking services and new multimodal transportation services, will be formed

As called for in our sustainability strategic plan, St. Thomas seeks to promote, educate and coordinate the needs of our community on alternative forms of transportation such as scooters, buses, bikes and electric cars. Currently there is no centralized location to spearhead multimodal transportation education for the campus as well as get information on these transportation forms. Forming one group with oversight for all transportation services ensures the community gets adequate service and promotion.

Public Safety will centralize emergency management/training and emergency response/preparedness into one group

Currently there are multiple resources with responsibility for elements of the above. Centralizing all emergency response and training into one position and area provides an opportunity to develop, strengthen and further educate the campus community in personal safety and emergency management while building institutional preparedness and capacity.

Campus Stores will expand apparel merchandise and continue new mail services technology rollout

Tommie pride is strong, and the Campus Stores will continue to expand online and in-store apparel/merchandise to meet our student, families, alumni and community needs. Mail services continues to change along with the mail industry. We will continue to expand the use of technologies and services to make the mail services relevant and efficient.

While the changes outlined above are essential to meet the needs of our evolving campus community, they represent difficult decisions. Some of these changes mean we will lose valued employees who are members of our St. Thomas family. Over the past few days, we have been meeting with the employees who are impacted. As of now, all employees whose employment or position is affected have been notified. We will continue to give all employees transition support, identify other open positions that are available within the university and provide avenues for communication about these changes.

As President Sullivan reminds us, change is hard but necessary if St. Thomas is to remain the strong institution that it is today. It is imperative that we continue to evolve our operations to find better and less costly ways to deliver the services that support our community. The changes announced here help us do that.

Please reach out to me at mkarstens@stthomas.edu if you have questions or concerns. My door is always open to meet with employees and talk though any issues. We look for your support during the transition and are committed to supporting you. I am grateful to each of you for the caring way you service our customers.

Sincerely,

Mitch Karstens, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services

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