Best guide to campus services, ever

Instagram contest helps students find services on Memorial Union-less campus

The Memorial Union’s Xpress Convenience Store may be no more, but this new convenience store on the ground floor of O’Kelly Hall is just one of several options that have sprung up in its place. Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

Kristi Okerlund was lucky. UND’s director of student involvement and parent programs, Okerlund has been stationed with her staff in Room 111 in Wilkerson Commons since moving from the Memorial Union over spring break.

That means Okerlund’s team could take advantage of spring semester to get students familiar with the team’s new location.

But many of the other Union transplants didn’t have that lead time, Okerlund realized.

So, to engage new UND freshmen and others over social media and encourage them to explore campus, Okerlund’s team created an Instagram contest – a photographic guide to the new layout of campus services.

“Our hope is it allows new and returning students the opportunity to learn where things are,” she said.

That’s our hope, too, here at UND Today. And it’s why in this story, we’re piggybacking on the #UNDWelcomeBack campaign to familiarize students and staffers with the new locations of Memorial Union services.

Okerlund’s team created nine locations for students to recreate photos featuring the Fighting Hawk and post as a collage with “#UNDWelcomeBack.” Five lucky winners who visited all nine locations before Aug. 30 and posted about them will be getting $100 to spend at the UND Bookstore, which is coincidentally the new home of the Memorial Union’s Campus Post Office.

“When we pitched this to the various offices and locations, we just needed confirmation that they would be on-board,” Okerlund told UND Today. “What we got back was excitement and a desire to help students, and to help them find places.

“The Union coming down is an opportunity to find creative ways to work together in ways we haven’t done in the past.”

Get your tickets here

UND Athletics became one of those new partners, Okerlund says, as students arriving at the Ralph Engelstad Arena learned about the best ways to find tickets for sporting events. The Athletics Ticket Office formerly in the Union has a new home in the Hyslop Sports Center (Rooms 110, 114 and 120). But a push also is underway for distributing tickets online, via the UND Fighting Hawks app.

“All tickets will populate in that app,” Okerlund described. “Students going to the Ralph for the contest were greeted by staff to answer questions, which was helpful with the first football game on Saturday.”

With signage assistance from UND’s marketing team, One Stop Student Services’ new location in Twamley Hall is open and available for addressing a variety of student, staff and faculty needs. Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

The Instagram contest hit all of the student life highlights, including Squires Food Court (in  Squires Hall, 430 Princeton Street) which offers pizza, grilled burgers, chicken, fresh-made salads, soup, sandwiches and grab-and-go items. Little Bangkok has opened a station there to maintain its presence on campus.

But it also took students to the new hubs of campus. With the Memorial Union’s demolition, buildings such as McCannel, Twamley and Wilkerson have created spaces for the Union’s essential functions.

At Twamley, Instagram-able spots were developed at Career Services (Room 103) and around One Stop Student Services (Room 204), both former occupants of Memorial Union.

Matt Lukach, student account relations manager for One Stop, says that while the team misses the openness of their former Memorial Union space, their new Twamley home provides more privacy for students and advisors discussing sensitive information. During the opening weeks of fall semester, their biggest service is providing campus with U Cards and badges needed for access to University services, but their other main functions are in financial aid, billing and payment processing.

“We’re able to offer the same services now that we had in the Union; nothing has changed,” Lukach reported. “By being close to the Registrar’s Office [Room 201] and the Academic Core Advising staff [Room 115], we’re better able to make connections for students that need those services, too.

“Parking Services has also provided some free spaces in the Twamley parking lot for students who need to see us.

“The move has helped us look at the comprehensive needs of students,” Lukach continued. “We worked with UND Marketing, and they did a great job branding our area to make it welcoming and conducive to providing great service.”

Click here for a full PDF version of this campus map.

Just to the south of where the Union once stood, McCannel Hall gave the Instagram contest a spot in the lobby where students could see everything featured in the building. To match the Fighting Hawk, students pose next to the directory board with an assortment of info cards in hand.

Vice President Cara Halgren, whose Division of Student Affairs & Diversity — another former Union tenant — now occupies Room 280 on McCannel’s second floor, says colleagues who were once in four different spaces are now in one, making collaboration easier.

The large division addresses many varied issues, but all of its work is focused on student success. Halgren and her staff are now co-located with Gerhardt and Assistant Dean of Students Alex Pokornowski, along with the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities and Disability Services for Students.

The Department of Student Diversity & Inclusion, another of the nine stops on UND’s Instagram tour, is now located at the American Indian Center on Princeton Street.

“For me, I really enjoy reconnecting with folks I haven’t shared an office with for a while,” Halgren said about her division’s new location.

“Every move is a new chance to review what we’re doing to ensure that we are doing things in the best possible way. It’s been a significant transition, and I’m grateful for the patience and support of those with whom we work.

“We encourage students to contact us when they have a question and don’t know where to start with finding an answer,” she said. “We can help.”

Other offices now found in McCannel Hall include the International Center/Study Abroad Office in Room 190 and the Community Violence Intervention Center’s (CVIC) UND office in Room 200.

 

Wilkerson Dining Center is going to play a lead role in absorbing the Memorial Union’s mealtime traffic, says Orlynn Rosaasen, director of dining services. Photo by Shawna Noel Schill/UND Today.

Where to meet and where to eat

Now, here’s a guide to meeting spaces and food — two items that aren’t on the Instagram tour, but were essential Memorial Union functions nevertheless. That’s shown by the fact that the two most common questions that student leaders say they get asked are the following: “Where can my student organization meet?”

And, “Where will I get lunch?”

The Memorial Union was indeed a marquee meeting place on campus. The facility’s executive director, Cheryl Grew-Gillen, says more than 100 active student organizations would schedule room usage throughout the building. That’s in addition to the 4,000-plus events, on average, held in the Union each year.

Grew-Gillen’s office, along with the Dakota Student newspaper, have moved into the UND Housing Office for the interim period. Staffers, including Grew-Gillen, will be working behind the scenes supporting events still held on campus, answering incoming questions over the info line (1-800-CALL-UND) and participating in the new Memorial Union’s design process.

Those following this link, to a new scheduling and event information page, will find that student organizations can reserve spaces in the Education Building, O’Kelly Hall and Columbia Hall free of charge. The page also contains a long list of campus facilities that can be contacted for room reservations.

As for food, the Memorial Union offered nearly the full suite of UND’s dining options – a la carte, convenience, coffee and retail. The University’s catering service also was run from the Union; it’s now stationed at Wilkerson (Room 109).

While the Union’s demolition presents a new wave of upheaval for Director of Dining Services Orlynn Rosaasen, it’s also giving his department the chance to develop new retail partnerships, new menus and better meal plans for students.

“I think it will be heavier traffic this year,” Rosaasen said of Wilkerson Commons, which completed radical renovations in 2015 to remain a campus mainstay for dining. “That’s part of the reason we opened a new to-go café on the ground level.”

While students typically will ascend to the second floor to reach the main dining hall, the new, portable option will be located close to the ground floor convenience store. “The idea there is that people have a place if they don’t want to go upstairs and pay for all-you-care-to-eat,” Rosaasen said. “They can go to the to-go café and grab something a la carte.”

Closer to the Memorial Union’s radius, O’Kelly Hall’s ground floor is also home to a new convenience store. It’s essentially the replacement for the Union’s Xpress Convenience Store – plus it has Starbucks coffee available among other food items and supplies.

The new food cart in Columbia Hall serves the liberal arts center with grab-and-go foods in addition to coffee. Photo by Mike Hess/UND Today.

To serve Columbia Hall, a new food cart service in the atrium will provide coffee and to-go food items such as soup, salads, sandwiches, pastries and bagels.

And for students in residence halls, given the proliferation of a la carte options in the Union’s absence, Rosaasen detailed two new meal plans. Over time, he hopes to implement plans with more “flex dollars,” meaning whether students want to get something on-the-go or all-you-care-to-eat, it’s just a swipe of the U Card.

The meal plans are being restructured partly in anticipation of the new Memorial Union, because the food court there will be even more user-friendly and attractive to students. Retail options for the new facility are in the works, but it’s too early to talk about the “national brands” that’ll be present, Rosaasen said.

“Another part of designing the space is thinking about students doing more online ordering, so they can easily pick up and go,” he said.

Rosaasen’s team has been working all summer on menu development as well. Changes are coming to Wilkerson’s and Squire’s arrays, and he encourages people to stop by. New recipes and dishes that are hits will more than likely find themselves at the new Union’s food court.

“We focus on so many things that it’s important to remember the food – that’s what it’s about,” he remarked. “The food has to be evolving, and that’s something we took a hard look at in our last survey with students.”