College Activities Office reorganizes

Megan Robinson

News and Web Editor

At the beginning of this year, an announcement was sent out to students about the reorganization of the College Activities Office, newly renamed the Student Engagement Office.

The responsibilities and activities of the former College Activities were divided up among different offices. The set-up process and planning when students reserve a room is now handled by Conference Services and student programming is being handled by the Student Engagement Office.

The locations of the offices are being revamped as well. The rooms that housed the CAO are now being used for both the Student Engagement Office and the Office of Multicultural affairs, formerly located in a back hallway under Rouzer (next to the Free Press room).

The old Multicultural Affairs office is now home to the newly created student resource library. This will have resources such as lists of local businesses that might be useful to clubs, mailboxes, scheduling forms, a banner printing machine, a conference room for club leaders to meet in, and the new SGA office. The old SGA room will be the office for student community service.

Ethan Seidel, Vice President of Administration and Finance, expressed his excitement about the relocating of these offices. He said it made sense to put the offices that were important resources to students in a central location that was visible.

The final component of the reorganization of these offices is the relocation of its workers. The two former directors of the CAO, Mitch Alexander and Erica Immler, are still with McDaniel College. Alexander is now Director of Event Service in the Conference Services Office and Immler is the Outreach Manager in the Alumni Office Call Center.

Seidel said it made sense to move Alexander to Conference Services because he had experience with the set-up process from his time as Director of CAO, and that he felt the move best utilized his strengths for the college.

Alexander’s position switch came as a surprise to him. Alexander said he did not know the reorganization was coming until he was approached about moving his position in June.

Immler was told in June that her job would be eliminated in two weeks. Her current position in the Alumni Office wasn’t offered to her until she reapplied and was interviewed again for the position.

Immler said she is glad to still work for the college and especially happy she continues to work with students, which she said was her favorite part of her job.

With Alexander and Immler moved to new offices, Christine Workman, who has experience in Student Activities, Greek Life, and Substance Abuse Prevention and Education, was hired to be the Director of the Student Engagement Office. The search for the assistant director to work with her is still in the process.

Beth Gerl, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students said she was very pleased with Workman’s experience, especially in Greek Life, and looks forward to seeing her contribute to the campus.

Some students feel inconvenienced and frustrated by the changes. “It was easy to go in and talk to Mitch,” said senior Paul Donoghue, the Community Service Committee Head of Alpha Sigma Phi. “Now I really don’t know what to do.”

Seidel said that the Student Engagement Office is operating as of now, but moving at a slow pace as everyone adjusts to the changes and Workman becomes more familiar with her job.

“None of the students that were hired will lose a job,” said Seidel. In fact, several jobs will be added, such as supervisors of the student resource library.

However, some student worker’s supervisors and duties have been altered. For example, building managers, who were previously employed by CAO, now work for Conference Services. Additionally, the information desk has changed to the welcome desk.

Gerl and Seidel said they have wanted to make changes to these offices for years but were unable to with budget constraints. However, Seidel said last spring he sat down with Gerl and they came up with a plan that would utilize the resources they had in order to reorganize without costing the college extra money.

Seidel’s and Gerl’s plan was proposed and approved last spring. The actual changes began this June, when Alexander moved offices and Immler was let go.

Seidel said that now to schedule an event, one only needs to get the event approved by Student Engagement and then go to Conference Services to plan their event. He explained that it made sense to centralize all of the set-up and planning in one office.

Gerl said taking the set-up responsibilities off of the Student Engagement Office will allow Workman more time to focus on advising Greek life, one of her responsibilities. Gerl said one of the goals of the restructuring was to concentrate more on student programming in order to “provid[e] students with a better out of classroom experience.”