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Two IMU departments merge for convenience, cost

BY AMY SKARNULIS | JUNE 22, 2012 6:30 AM

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When seeking information in the IMU, University of Iowa students now have only one stop to make, thanks to the creation of The Hub.

The University Box Office and the Campus Information Center have merged into one streamlined office called the Hub. UI officials say combining the two operations will save money as well as make information services more convenient for students and visitors.

Cindy Thrapp, the manager of the University Box Office, said that when the information center was closed, the box office was open, so it was always the backup for information.

"So [we said], let's just make it a one-stop shop," she said.

Bill Nelson, the director for the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, said the merger made more sense in both a human-resource and financial aspect. Despite minor costs, he said, IMU officials expect to save money.

"We're going to have initial start-up costs [with new signage and a new computer-database system]," he said. "But there was really no significant cost at all."

Penny Kaelber, the coordinator of campus information, said the costs of the merger were minimal.

"We did a little modification about the window and the sign so everyone knows about the new operation," she said. "It didn't really cost anything at all."

More information and features will be added now that the two spaces have merged. According to the website, students can purchase SCOPE concert tickets as well as Bijou and athletics tickets at the Hub. It will also offer off-campus housing services and tutor-referral services.

"We just want to make it as convenient for people as possible," Thrapp said.

Nelson said now that both operations are integrated into one, it will be able to offer expanded services such as student organizations' financial deposits.

"Student organizations will be able to do their transactions [virtually anytime because of the new hours]," he said.

Nelson said the University Box Office had longer hours than the Campus Information Center, so students could come later in the evening and became accustomed to going to the box office for information.

"Now, the Hub is going to be open virtually 24-7," he said. "When the building is open, the Hub is open."

Thrapp said the merger was as simple as switching the Internet and phone to one office.

She said the Hub is ready to go, but officials are still working out some logistics and will be completely ready by the start of the fall semester.

"As much as possible, we wanted to be ready by the first session of freshman Orientation," she said.

Thrapp said merging the two offices was just as convenient for the employees as it was for the students who use their services.

"Now that everything is on the Internet, the information that is asked now is about building information," she said. "We have campus information, [but everyone gets that online]."

Kaelber said the Hub is much more convenient than having two separate desks to get information from, and the university saves money by combining the staff.

"We were worried about some confusion [from people looking to get information]," she said. "But we have a pretty good marketing and design staff, which makes it pretty easy to find it."


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