Welcome to the Grapevine

The Grapevine is administered by the UAF Marketing and Communications Department and was designed to dispel rumors, clarify misconceptions and clear up misunderstandings about UAF topics of a general nature to improve communication between the administration and the UAF community.

Many times departments are able to quickly resolve an issue and we post the solution to the problem here as well. Thank you for your suggestions.

Submit your question or suggestion here.

As always, building and facilities issues that need attention should be forwarded to dispatch@fs.uaf.edu or reported directly to 474-7000. Unsafe conditions should be reported to Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management here.

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March 5, 2015 -- Coffee drinks


The espresso coffee drinks (lattes, etc.) at the various coffee shops have gotten very weak in recent weeks. It used to be a good strong drink; now it tastes like milk with dishwater. At the prices being charged, it should be a strong well-flavored drink. I've heard this from a number of people, especially for the kiosk at the library. Apparently the brewed coffee in the pots is still fine. Can something be done?


From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Contracts Manager of Auxiliary, Recharge and Contract Operations

Each of our baristas are in the process of being trained by North Pole Coffee on how to ensure consistency in each of the drinks made. In the future, if the drink doesn't meet your standards please return it to the barista and ask her to remake it. If that doesn't work, you can contact our office at uaf-dining@alaska.edu so we can help fix the problem in a more timely manner than the Grapevine.

March 5, 2015 -- Tobacco product use on campus


  1. Is it true that smoking is now banned on all UA campuses?

  2. Is it true that UAF is refusing to involve university personnel in enforcing the ban, and is instead placing the burden on those bothered by smoke to ask those flouting the ban to stop (even when there are signs posted that indicate that smoking is prohibited in the area in question)?


From Kris Racina, Fresh Air Committee

President Pat Gamble and the University of Alaska Board of Regents adopted the Tobacco Free Campus regulation in December of last year. The basics of the policy are as follows:

  • Tobacco product use is prohibited in all buildings, grounds, trails, parking garages, parking lots (except personally-owned vehicles not parked in parking garage), university-owned streets and sidewalks, and spaces leased or owned by the university.
  • Applies to all employees, students, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors.
  • Tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, kreteks, bidis, and other inhalable burning substances, and all smokeless tobacco and tobacco-containing products.

UAF has opted to phase in this new regulation over the course of this calendar year, which means it will go into effect on Dec. 31, 2015, but we’d like to remind the campus community that smoking within 50 feet of any of university building entrances is currently prohibited.

Feb. 27, 2015 -- ABM personnel break area 


Our ABM worker spends a lot of time sitting in our front office playing with his cell phone. Usually 30 minutes at a time. He could be on a break or on lunch, but there are more appropriate places for him to go. We deal with confidential information and his presence can be distracting to staff who are working. I don't know who to report this too, but perhaps ABM supervisors could let their staff know to find a better place like the library or wood center to spend their breaks.


From Martin Klein, Facilities Services

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You may email either John Renfro jwrenfro@alaska.edu or Martin Klein martin.klein@alaska.edu in Facilities  Services and we will pass the information on to ABM. ABM has close to 100 employees working on campus. Some more details would be helpful to identify the problem. If you would like to remain anonymous send the details in an email to the grapevine with building and time of day you've observed the information and we can follow up. 


Feb. 27, 2015 -- Bunnell lab school 


Rumor has it that the Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School is going to be cut. Is that true?


From Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services

The Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School is one of several programs receiving closer financial review as UAF considers how to manage if state funding for the university is reduced beginning next fiscal year. It has not been identified for closure.

The Bunnell House is funded from three sources:

  • Facility costs - paid by UAF central budget
  • Program operating costs - 
    • fees paid by parents who have children enrolled in the program
    • CTC budget.

With an eye to reducing or eliminating the need for an annual subsidy of the Bunnell House program operations, a review is underway to consider alternate operating models for the program.  This review will be complete in the spring and a discussion of any next steps will take place at that time. 



Feb. 25, 2015 -- Lola Tilly Commons


When I walk by the building today, I saw some work going on inside Lola Tilly Commons. What are the plans for the space?


From Scott Bell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services

In the near term, plans are to make small changes to the Lola Tilly Commons to make it usable as a "swing" space for temporary offices. In the coming year, there are plans to house the Alaska Center for Energy and Power in the building until the new Engineering Building is complete. There also plans to move some of the programs currently located in office campus leased space and the One Tree Program here. The Sustainability Office will remain on the second floor.

Feb. 19, 2015 -- Picking up cards and keys


Within the last six months I have picked up university keys and my travel card. I was not asked for ID either time. This doesn't seem like a very secure practice. Is this the standard policy for transactions like that?


The travel office doesn't require ID to pick up cards because cards must be activated via phone before they can be used, just like a personal credit or debit card. When the cards are renewed, employees are required to sign for the cards when they pick them up and they still have to activate their card via phone. There hasn't been an instance of fraud because of someone not showing ID when picking up their card.

There is also not a requirement that key holders produce a personal ID when they pick up keys at the Key Issue Office. However, they are required to give their UA ID number - which is verified by the shop employees - and the signatures of the approving official and the key holder are required on the key slip.

The key office at Facilities Services is nearing the end of a significant revision of the key-issue policy and the implementation of new software. Once this policy is reviewed and approved by Chancellor's Cabinet, presenting a personal ID when picking up keys will be a requirement. Additionally, key holders will be required to sign for the keys in person.

Feb. 18, 2015 -- Budget solutions


As we explore various options for stretching our dollars, how can we as a system make some changes that would help pave the way for creative ideas - case in point, as staff express interest in taking a month off during summer to be with kids (technically 11 mo. contract, and not using leave), they are immediately met with a negative response that it would not be possible to take less than 12 mos. unless they become term funded. Surely, we may not be able to effect PRS/TRS parameters, but could we be open as a university system to help employees make creative solutions happen - happy employees being heard = happy employees being productive 


From Brad Lobland, director Human Resources

Thank you for your suggestion. We're working to make this option available to for employees who may want to take advantage of a reduced contract. The university is reviewing several options, including the implementation of 11, 10 and 9 month contracts as well as reduced work weeks from 40 to 32 hours. Departments will need to balance the needs of the department, the employee and the workloads, but we believe we can make this option available to more employees and perhaps alleviate some fiscal constraints in the process.

Feb. 16, 2015 -- West Ridge Cafe service


Did the staffing change at the West Ridge Cafe? For days now it has only been one person running it, when normally it is a person preparing food and a cashier. Will this be a long term or is this just temporary?

Just getting lunch now takes 15-20 minutes when traffic is heavy. Not only that, but today I found expired food going back to Dec. 22, 2014. With being staffed with less people I can understand why that happened. I know many people are tired of the wait and are getting frustrated.

Please note this not any reflection on the staff member there, they've been super helpful and as speedy as they can be.

Truthfully in my 11 years working on West Ridge I've see the cafe go through so many changes, and sadly right about the time that things are starting to run smoothly with the latest change made.


From Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, Contracts Manager of Auxiliary, Recharge and Contract Operations

Due to decreasing sales volume, the number of staff people at West Ridge Cafe was temporarily reduced from two people to one. We are constantly evaluating staffing levels at all locations and appreciate the feedback. In the future, you can contact Dining Services directly at uaf-dining@alaska.edu to provide feedback in a more appropriate and timely manner.

Feb. 15, 2015 -- Printers need servicing


What can we do when a printer in our office is not functioning properly?  Is it true OIT doesn't service printers?


From Martha Mason, OIT user services

Thanks for your question. When your office printer is not functioning properly, contacting the OIT Service Desk is the best way to start a service request. Technicians will work with you to determine the nature of the problem and work to get that resolved. There are situations where the printer manufacturer is best suited to fix a problem and we can help determine when that is the case and advise you how to proceed. If you have additional questions about a specific printer or printers in-general please contact the OIT Service Desk and ask. 

Feb. 9, 2015 -- Open lap swimming


Morning open lap swimming was moved from 6–7:30 to 5–6:30 this semester and the UAF swim team has the pool for practice from 6:30–8:30. However, I've been noticing that the swim team is typically only in the pool for an hour and are usually out around 7:30. Rather than only allowing public lap swimming from 5–6:30, how about the swim team uses the pool from 7:30–8:30, then the rest of us don't have to wake up at 4:30 in order to swim before work.


From Mark Oldmixon, director, Department of Recreation, Adventure, and Wellness

Unfortunately, the lap swim schedule for this semester did change due to the varsity swimming schedule. While you may have noticed the swim team not taking full advantage of their two hours in the morning, it is not a regular event. Currently, the swim team is heading into their national conference meet, which requires them to taper their trainings. In another week, they will be back to utilizing their full two-hour practice. It is not effective to have the schedule bounce around every few weeks, so they are assigned a standard time slot.

Feb. 9, 2015 -- UAF pencils


When I saw that UAF was giving away wood pencils at the 2014 Golden Days parade, I rolled my eyes because many of us look enough like nerds already. However, those pencils were very nice to write with and the ones I could stash away are now sharpened down to stubs. What is the make and model of those pencils?


From Andrea Swingley, Production Specialist & Graphic Designer, Marketing and Communications

Any item bearing a UAF trademark such as the UAF logo needs to be ordered from a vendor or manufacturer who is licensed with UAF through the Collegiate Licensing Company, a licensing agent under contract with the university. The natural wood pencils given away at the Golden Days parade were no exception and were purchased from online vendor 4Imprint.

Feb.6 , 2015 -- Printed directory


Why does UAF still print a hard copy of the faculty and staff directory? This seems like it could be a waste of money as things change frequently and EDIR is always available (and folks can update it if things change).


From Michelle Bartlett, director, Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning

The simple answer to why is that people like having this tool a lot! The directory has been a Summer Session gift to not only the university community, but to the Fairbanks business, non profit, and educational communities for several years. It began as a useful holiday present as opposed to sending out a holiday card as is the custom of many departments.  The directory has also proven to be a highly effective marketing tool for Summer Sessions & Lifelong Learning programs.

In its present format, the information is cross referenced in the three sections and is extremely useful. It is true that edir is available, but it is highly inaccurate. It is left up to the individual to monitor their own information. When preparing for this current directory, departments and colleges were asked to review what was in edir and to send us correct information. There were literally hundreds of corrections.  With the directory, you can always write the correct number and have the information at your fingertips.

This year we even provided the last two pages of the directory for corrections and additions. Lastly, we have received dozens and dozens of kudos from all sectors not only within the university but also from the Fairbanks community for making this information available in this format. The cost is born by Summer Sessions and no general fund dollars are expended on this project.

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