August 22, 2013
Campus prepares for incoming students
As students begin arriving today for SUNY Cortland’s fall semester, final preparations are being made in every building and room for the return of an estimated 7,200 men and women to campus.
Sarah Unruh, assistant director for Marketing Retention and Occupancy Management at SUNY Cortland, said this is the busiest time of the year for the residence life department.
“The amount of preparation we have going in is amazing,” Unruh said. “We’re preparing students’ keys, doing room condition reports, putting together bulletin boards and putting names on doors. All that stuff to make the residence halls feel like home.”
For move-in day, Unruh said that the college relies heavily on student volunteers to help move possessions, manage traffic and keep things going smoothly, or at least to prevent things from coming to a grinding halt.
“One of the first things we do is try hard to recruit as many student volunteers as possible,” said Unruh. “We probably get anywhere from 100 to 200 volunteers.”
Over 200 of SUNY Cortland’s roughly 3,000 on-campus residents will call Cortland’s latest crown jewel, Dragon Hall, home for the fall semester, as construction is complete and all of its rooms are furnished and move-in ready.
Dragon Hall, which has drawn attention for its “green” construction and energy saving features, will house a mix of freshmen, upperclassmen and transfer students.
SUNY Cortland’s dining services will also be hard hit as they go from a virtual stand still to serving thousands of meals each day.
“Everybody is getting their facilities up and running,” said Director of Dining Services Bill McNamara. “We’re still trying to do some hiring, and we’re starting to receive food orders.
McNamara estimates that SUNY Cortland goes through about $150,000 worth of food each week, with food order deliveries arriving three or four times in that same span of time.
“This is probably our largest order,” McNamara said, citing the need for fresh produce. “Before the semester starts, we’re very close to empty, so all of our sites are building up their supplies.”
Another challenge of back-to-school week is the fact that the student employees who usually staff the kitchens and dining halls are not on-hand. The majority of them are busy moving in themselves.
“We employ about 350 students,” said McNamara. “We don’t have them during move-in week, so we do rely on our full time staff to go above and beyond.”
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