UEE staff pivot to support students, parents and local community

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Mc 5

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, two words describe University Enterprises and Events (UEE) staff: flexible and adaptable.

Since the three-week student move-out started, teams from UEE have been eager to learn new roles and contribute to a variety of priorities on campus to support students, their families and the local community too. 

After teams of UEE staff finished packaging special gift boxes that would be mailed to all of the graduating seniors, they shifted to helping during the student move-out from May 22 to June 11. More than 200 UEE staff, many from Campus Dining, welcomed students and parents, served as parking attendants, ushers and building coordinators to ensure a smooth move-out process. Meanwhile, staff who typically work in University Catering and other departments in UEE stepped up to become room attendants at the Morris Inn during move-out. 

To prepare staff for their new roles, Brittani Stutsman, student training and development specialist, created customized, online training videos to help UEE staff learn what they needed to know to serve on the hospitality team, professionally clean rooms and perform other duties on move-out days. “We had people from multiple departments within UEE coming together as one team,” Stutsman explained. “It has been amazing to see the display of teamwork and new partnerships within campus that are developing.” 

Parking lot directions

A mother of twin freshmen boys moving out of Duncan and Keough Halls expressed her gratitude through email. "Thank you for a perfectly executed move-out day today,” she said. “I was not sure what to expect, but in true Notre Dame fashion, the event was extremely well-organized and every detail was considered. In addition, we were greeted and assisted by the most helpful, friendly people that seemed to really care about creating a good experience for us.” Stutsman said that one of the most challenging aspects of training staff remotely was that some staff members do not have access to a computer at home, or are not sure how to use video conferencing platforms like Zoom. So, she used the platform that they did have access to: Facebook. She emailed staff a link to a public Facebook group where they could watch the training video and then receive additional on-the-job training.

Every day during the move-out, around 85-90 UEE staff were scheduled to work as ushers, parking attendants, building coordinators or hospitality team members. “The entire team has done a phenomenal job adapting and working in another area,” Stutsman said.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, one Campus Dining staff member has gone above and beyond. Sean Wojtkowski, manager of logistics at the Center for Culinary Excellence coordinated the delivery of all the meals served throughout this period.

“Sean has been thoughtful and diligent in thinking how best to deliver meals on campus,” said Chris Abayasighe, senior director of Campus Dining. “I’m incredibly proud of how the management team worked every role from preparing meals to washing dishes.” Prior to the pandemic, the Center for the Homeless approached Campus Dining about providing one meal every week for their guests. Throughout the pandemic, Wojtkowski made that happen. He ensured that hot meals were delivered to the center every week.

Morris Inn loading

Over the coming weeks, Campus Dining staff will transition to support Building Services in cleaning and disinfecting the residence halls and other buildings on campus while University Catering, Legends and University Events staff are working alongside Landscape Services in planting, weeding and maintaining the University’s grounds. In addition, Legends and University Catering culinary teams are assisting Morris Inn staff in preparing delicious and nutritious meals for students on campus.  

During the pandemic, Morris Inn staff have remained activated in teams on rotating schedules supporting each other in countless ways. As the hotel was near full capacity March to May, the opportunity to reset the hotel to serve the incoming families moving out of the residence halls could have been seen as daunting. John Cheng, director of rooms, has done a yeoman’s work in coordinating all of the staffing. The UEE finance team, Morris Inn finance team and other UEE staff have come together to clean and sanitize guest rooms at the Morris Inn the last few weeks. 

Morris Inn

Throughout the pandemic, colleagues from both dining halls and University Catering have also worked to help Campus Dining teams across five religious houses on campus. Supporting the priests and brothers of Holy Cross is a beautiful gift that the members of UEE cherish. 

Every week, the UEE team is learning something new, taking on new challenges and building relationships with peers across the division and the University.