Valet Captain Roger Fairchild greets guests upon arrival at the Morris Inn. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)
This spring is shaping up to be almost as busy on campus as football season. Starting with the Garth Brooks concert this Saturday and ending with the Billy Joel concert on June 25, six major events will take place over seven weeks – not to mention the approaching summer college session, it’s the season for weddings and spring is when visitors start to flock to Notre Dame.
Roger FairchildCaptain of Valet Services at the Morris Inn, looking forward to what lies ahead.
“Notre Dame is a must-see for so many people, just as Augusta State Golf Course was for me. I knew Augusta was going to be amazing, but when I finally arrived, it exceeded my expectations. C “That’s what I want to offer our visitors. When they’re here, I want to take their expectations of the place and elevate them to another level,” he said.
It will take contributions from employees working directly with guests and those behind the scenes to host the 2022 and 2020 launch ceremonies, alumni reunion, Golden is your fame and two concerts.
Every occasion is a life event for the guests.
“The only way the University is able to do this is through the inspiring work of many Notre Dame teams,” mike seamonvice president for campus security and university operations, said.
“There are countless people in departments such as Building Services, Parking Services, NDPD, NDFD, Recycling, General Services, Campus Restaurants, Morris Inn…the list goes on . Thanks to them and their incredible work, the University is able to be at its best in welcoming the families and guests of our graduates as they celebrate all that is special at Notre Dame,” he said. -he adds.
University management appreciates the teamwork required to organize large-scale back-to-back events.
“It is humbling to witness the hard work, care and commitment to excellence of so many people on campus. Thanks to the team of talented colleagues, we can offer distinct Notre Dame experiences to the Notre Dame family,” Mick Kiddervice president for university enterprises and events, said.
The rapid pace of events will not only require hard work, but will also require overtime and even extra working days for some employees.
The 2020 launch celebration will take place over Memorial Day weekend, which means some employees will be working during what is typically a three-day holiday. This is the case for some employees of St. Michael’s Laundry, who will distribute gowns and accessories to 2020 graduates Friday evening and Saturday. Major event work has already included the pressing of 1,500 graduation gowns, hundreds of stoles and balaclavas, and countless table linens.
“It’s been a busy year, maybe busier than normal, but everyone is doing a great job, working as hard as they can and things are moving forward,” Jeff Rogersuniform sales and rental coordinator, said of his colleagues at St. Michael’s.
Building Services also prepared for activity on campus. Darla Hansen-Wilson oversees staff members who sanitize, disinfect and maintain sports buildings, including Notre Dame Stadium where launch ceremonies and concerts will take place. “A month or two before times like these, the team has conversations so that we are mentally and physically prepared. We are taking it step by step and one day at a time and know that together we will succeed,” said Hansen-Wilson.
Deputy Directors Jennifer Wilber and David Konkey and associate director Jeff Edgerly shared what they see as the biggest challenge facing construction services: have enough staff to support all functions.
Building services is one of many university departments feeling the effects of the tight labor market. Kidder and his team used creative approaches to meet the challenges.
“Feeding that many people over the course of seven weeks is not for the faint-hearted,” Kidder said, by way of example. “It’s extremely difficult this year because we miss so many people. The reception and catering teams cannot do it alone.
Then they will have help. Scott Rieth, executive director of hospitality and general manager of the Morris Inn, and Luigi Albergantisenior director of on-campus catering, will work with their respective teams and with external partners such as Navarre Hospitality Group.
“Teams will come together in a unified way to support Notre Dame students, their families, and guests during commencement weekends and Reunion weekend alumni,” Kidder explained.
The University will also rely on community partnerships to manage traffic around the Douglas Road closure between Twyckenham and Ironwood. This stretch of Douglas is the main artery of North and East Campus.
As activities resume here, Kauble said that pace is better than when the campus was closed due to the pandemic. “We’ve seen a significant increase in events that require our support, and we’ve been delighted to be busy again. It has been nice to see our staff more frequently and catch up on their lives,” he said.
“The closure of Douglas Road will have the biggest impact on guests coming for major occasions, such as the concert this weekend,” said Tom Kauble, responsible for traffic and parking at the Public Security of Notre Dame. “We’ve come up with a great plan in partnership with the Indiana State Police, South Bend Police and St. Joseph County Police to ensure that our traffic patterns for concerts — and, later , football – are experiencing minimal delays.
Kauble also manages event parking. “Parking impacts every event and function on campus as well as every guest who comes to visit,” he said. With a roster of more than 100 as-needed workers, some of whom are new, Kauble believes his team is ready.
“We have been hiring staff since February for our summer concerts as well as for the 2022 football season. By encouraging our new recruits to start working in the spring and summer when the football season begins, they will already have a great experience,” Kauble said.
Fairchild echoed Kauble’s sentiments. “I’m surrounded by great people who are happy to work in this great place,” he said. “We do not do “average” at Notre-Dame. My goal is to make sure the person in front of me feels welcome and appreciated. We want visitors to experience the pure excellence of Notre Dame.