It Takes a Village
Every year, Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE) staff members build partnerships across campus to help create a successful commencement weekend. A lot of work goes into these massive and memorable events, much of which crosses areas of HDAE, including the following…
- Over Commencement Weekend, each day 80+ staff members from Transportation & Parking Services help shepherd 5,000 to 8,000+ cars throughout campus and parking lots. They also provide an electric shuttle service up and down the hill for people who require assistance and their families.
- Residential Dining Services’ Concessions unit operates booths in various locations near the commencement site(s) and the Student Resource Building offering tasty burritos, cinnamon rolls, fruit and more. Production happens out of De la Guerra Dining Commons and the Special Events Catering kitchen at Carrillo Dining Commons.
- Twenty-seven staff members from UCen Catering feed all Commencement volunteers ─ 900 each day ─ with some work shifts starting as early as 3:45am! This past commencement, they managed eight events, including graduation breakfasts, lunches and afternoon coffee, serving more than 2000 people. Events included receptions at Humanities & Social Sciences, Mosher House and Geology, and a graduation ceremony at Engineering, just to name a few.
- For a second year, The Club & Guest House offered a special commencement menu during brunch for both days, and the Marketing & Communications Team partnered with Sara Engebrits on a social media and marketing campaign which resulted in a 250% increase in guests from 2017. The Guest House was also sold out for the entire weekend.
- For Commencement 2018, the Campus Store sold an amazing 744 grad packs more than 2017 for a total of 1,822! Their Commencement outpost (pictured above) was successful as well: they sold out of umbrellas in the first half hour due to an unexpected rain shower; Gauchos loved the graduating seniors t-shirt (all graduating students names were printed on the shirt); and teddy bears were flying off the shelves (550!). The #1 item sold was orchid leis.
Furniture Services spent more than two weeks working on Commencement tasks including setting up chairs, podiums, flags and plants, and being present before, during and after the ceremonies on both weekend days.
The volunteer of the year award goes to Ortega Dining Commons Manager, Jeff Hillery. For 15 years, Jeff has played a lead role in setting up the Thunderdome and the walkway leading to the Commencement Lawn for graduate line ups. He supervises a team of 15 volunteers, and coordinates with CSOs, staff marshals and UCPD. He’s not just herding people though. His team checks students for contraband and stage passes, assists them with regalia, provides sun block, safety pins, pencils, and band aids, and a myriad of other responsibilities. Jeff said candy is the key is to getting students’ attention!
Commencement is a great time for UCSB staff members to collaborate and serve our students and their families. Thank you to everyone for your hard work in helping with these momentous occasions and creating great memories for our Gauchos and their families. Commencement 2018 was especially memorable, as it was the largest number of graduates in UCSB history!
By Jeff Hillery, Laura Hoffman, Julie Levangie, Jean Singer & Robbie Yankow