October 2013

Oct. 29, 2013 -- Update on wellness provider


Please provide an update on the university's wellness provider.


From Erika Van Flein, UA Human Resources

Recently, the University of Alaska and WIN for Alaska appeared in court for a hearing to determine whether UA could proceed to award the new wellness contract to Healthyroads, while WIN for Alaska exercised its administrative rights to protest the award.

Last week, the judge in the case issued a decision that UA could proceed with awarding the contract while WIN’s protest continues.  The judge concluded that not awarding the contract was not in the best interests of the university and that WIN for Alaska did not have a reasonable probability of success with its claim. This means that UA is able to resume discussions with Healthyroads to get our new wellness program up and running as soon as possible.  We hope to be able to begin services with Healthyroads shortly after the new year.

The process isn’t over, and WIN is pursuing other administrative options to protest the award. We’ll keep you informed with updates as we’re able to provide them.

For more information on the Healthyroads program, go to healthyroads.com and click on “how it works,” then read more about the online wellness portal and the lifestyle coaching programs.

Oct. 29, 2013 -- Parking in Chapman lot


Most days the Haida parking lot near Chapman is filled with poorly parked cars. Some days, it looks like four or five extra cars could fit in the lot if only people had parked straight/in front of the head bolts.

Is it possible to repaint the stripes on the fence so it is clearer where the spaces are? (And maybe hassle cars that are poorly parked and stay parked in the lot for days on end?)


From Martin Klein, Facilities Services

As this is a tight gravel lot with no stripes most users align on the headbolts when they park. Occasionally the mix of large and small vehicles parking in the lot can make for some inefficient space usage. We do encourage users to park centered upon the headbolts and will likely repaint the marks on the bullrail in the summer. If you see a vehicle parked in a manner that blocks multiple parking spaces don't hesitate to contact parking services at 474-PARK and they will investigate.

Oct. 29, 2013 -- Pedestrians on Thompson Drive and Geist Road


Twice in the last two weeks, I've almost been hit by someone turning left from Thompson Drive onto Geist Road, while I was in the crosswalk crossing Geist. Is there anything that the university can do to make that a safer intersection?


From Doug Schrage, interim police chief

Thank you for letting us know about your concern. That areas is primarily under the jurisdiction of the Alaska State Troopers, however I have discussed this with UAF police officers and have asked them to be observant when enforcing traffic in that area.


Oct. 28, 2013 -- Flu shot clinics on the Fairbanks campus


Will flu vaccines be made available free to staff and faculty at UAF this year? I understand that they are for students.


From Erika Van Flein, UA Human Resources

There will be two on-site flu shot clinics on the Fairbanks campus.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m.-noon in Room 109C Butrovich (that's the small conference room near the Board of Regents' conference room, on the first floor of the Butrovich Building).
  • Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. in Wood Center conference room C.

Staff from Safeway will be onsite to give flu shots. All you need to bring is your Premera ID card, no payment is necessary.

If you are not on the Fairbanks campus or are located at one of UAF's community campuses, please be sure to contact your provider or pharmacy for information on flu shots. The plan pays 100 percent of the allowable cost for routine immunizations such as flu shots.

For more information on preventive services covered at 100 percent of allowable charges, please visit http://www.alaska.edu/benefits/health-plan/preventive-benefit/.

Oct. 22, 2013 -- Smoke-free initiative


There was a suggestion was raised in the Faculty Senate, originally put forward by UAA students, that the university property go smoke free. I have been told this would be fairly easy to implement in Anchorage, but the senate thought it would be difficult in Fairbanks. I agree, however I wonder if an alternative could be considered? Could certain parts of campus be designated as smoke free such as the walk-through area between Rasmuson Library, Gruening, Wood Center and the Bookstore. There are often many people smoking in this area, it's difficult to walk between these buildings without having to breathe the secondhand smoke. Perhaps benches and ashtrays could be relocated to out-of-the-way areas but still near enough to be useful. Also, it would be nice if the rule banning smoking within 50 feet from buildings was enforced. I often see it violated. That way smoke would not end up inside the classrooms via the air-intakes and doorways. Thanks for considering this.


From Kris Racina, AVC, University and Student Advancement

UAF has been invited by the Alaska Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and the Interior Alaska Coalition of Tobacco-Free Advocates to participate in the Fresh Air Campus Challenge. This effort is designed to encourage all institutions of higher education in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington begin the process of going smoke- or tobacco free by the end of 2013.

UAF is in the process of forming a committee to explore the possibilities as well as the constraints and challenges of this initiative. The committee will seek input from stakeholders affected groups as to the advisability of going tobacco free and the methods of incrementally moving toward a tobacco-free campus, if we do decide to go in that direction.

According to the Fresh Air Campus Challenge, smoke-free policies can reduce tobacco use by preventing initiation and make it easer for smokers to quit. However, smoking is culturally and socially acceptable in many international groups, and here at UAF we also have residential students who smoke. As we explore the issue, we need to be mindful of how a new policy may affect those groups. It may be that a compromise will be considered, but currently no decisions have been made.

If you're interested in serving on the committee, please contact me at  Kris Racina.

To learn more about the challenge, visit www.nwcphp.org/Fresh-Air-Campus.

Oct. 22, 2013 -- Soft closure limited to one day


Why is there just one day of soft closure this year?


From Brad Lobland, Human Resources

In addition to the paid holidays (Dec. 25-26 and Jan. 1-2), this academic year’s university holiday closure will be Dec. 27, 30, and 31, 2013. Employees are encouraged to take leave during this period. Departments with essential employees are exempt from the university closure. Due to the dates of the academic calendar this year, the soft closure will be limited to Jan. 3. Employees who want to take additional time off should work with their supervisors to coordinate leave time.

Jan. 3 is also the beginning of Wintermester, so offices providing direct services to students should remain reasonably staffed. However, employees are encouraged to participate in the soft closure on Jan. 3, but are not required to take leave. Employees may choose to work even if the department is closed, or take annual leave or leave without pay. Holiday pay for those eligible will not be affected regardless of the type of leave taken.

Employees should be aware that retirement eligibility (PERS and TRS) may be affected if your leave without pay exceeds ten 10 days in a calendar year. Once the business hours for a department have been determined and announced by the supervisor, employees should coordinate with their supervisor regarding leave options and schedules. Departments that have circumstances requiring employees to work during the holiday closure (Dec. 27, 30 and 31) should notify UAF Human Resources before Dec. 17. If you have any additional questions, please contact Human Resources at 474-7700.

Oct. 21, 2013 -- Credit cards at the UAF Post Office


What is the reason for the post office on campus not taking credit cards?  I heard it had something to do with no Internet connection down there, but that doesn't seem like a good reason. It's a serious inconvenience in this cashless day and age.


From John Renfro, Post Office Manager

Due to the contract that UAF has with the U.S. Postal Service, contract units are not allowed to accept credit card payments on any of their services.

In the near future, the UAF contract post office will be able to accept credit card payment for post office box rental payments. The Bursar's Office is now accepting credit card payment for those rentals.

Oct. 17, 2013 -- Strong smell on the shuttle bus


Has anyone checked the big blue bus for emissions leaks? I've ridden in it a few times in the last two weeks and there is an odd smell. It gets worse when you sit further back. It's not strong, but it is there, and it makes it hard to breath. I've actually chosen to walk most mornings because of the situation, but soon it will be too cold for me!

If it hasn't been checked, it should be done immediately for the safety of the driver and the riders.


From Todd Smith, FS vehicle and equipment supervisor

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. Each bus is given a thorough safety inspection daily to make sure everything operates as designed and no problems that need immediate attention. However, there are items that are not caught during this inspection. We have seve buses that run the daily routes. If you identify a problem with any of the buses please call 7000 with the route name, the day, and the time that the problem was identified. We are aware that out largest bus, which is mostly used on the Nenana Route can have diesel fume smells in the rear of the bus due to the location of the engine and possible wind conditions. It is scheduled to have a thorough interior cleaning in the near future, which should eliminate any residual odors.
We appreciate being notified of any safety condition observed with any university-owned vehicle. It's also helpful to have either the license plate number or the vehicle or bus number, if possible when reporting the issue. You can always fill out an unsafe condition report if you feel that there is an immediate concern.

Please be aware that the most efficient way to resolve the issue is to contact Facilities Services dispatch right away at 474-7000.

Oct. 17, 2013 -- Filliing hand sanitizers on campus


Who is in charge of filling the hand sanitizer units around campus? They all seem to be empty on the lower campus right now.  And there are plenty of nasty colds going around. It's really ooky if you tap the dispenser and find it empty, and know you've just infected yourself with the germs from whomever had tried unsuccessfully to operate it before you.


Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The ccustodial ontractor has been asked to address this. They should all be filled now. If you continue to see missed or empty hand sanitizer dispensers please call 474-7000 and we will make certain it is addressed.

Oct. 10, 2013 -- Annual medication collection event


Is there ever a time to turn in expired prescriptions to the police department? Do they ever offer that program?


Douglas Schrage,  interim chief, UAF Police  Department

The UAF Police Department's annual medication collection event is scheduled for Oct. 26, to coincide with similar efforts by other law enforcement agencies in the Interior. As a general policy, the UAF Police Department accepts medications year-round that are turned in for disposal. Those medications get destroyed during normal evidence destruction runs. During the Medication Take Back program we do not destroy the medications, but turn them in to the Alaska Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit.

Oct. 8, 2013 -- Convocation video costs


I understand the new marketing video the chancellor showed at convocation was made by the Marketing and Communications Department with help from an outside vendor. Who was that outside vendor, and how much did we pay them?


Michelle Renfrew, director, Marketing and Communications

The outside vendor we used to produce the convocation video was Neumuth advertising. We haven't received the invoice yet, but the project is estimated to be about $3,500, which also included additional filming for footage for the video.

The video was shown at convocation and has since been re-purposed at the alumni reunion and at student recruitment events. While it won't be replacing our other research and academic marketing materials, the footage will be repurposed multiple times. There are also plans to share it on social media and use it at athletic and development events. We know from our brand research that, in addition to information about our academic programs, new and prospective students want more information about student life and the type of community they will find if they choose to come to UAF.  

The video can be found on the UAF YouTube page.

Oct. 1, 2013 -- Sidewalk installation on West Ridge


The sidewalk installation between Arctic Health Research Building and the Butrovich Building seems to have stalled and the contractor no longer working. Please provide an update.


The contractor working on this sidewalk project was unavilable for 10 days. However, work is continuing this week and should be completed soon. The same contractor will also be installing concrete for a new bike rack in front of the MBS complex.

To expedite requests about facilities, please contact dispatch directly at 474-7000 or send an email to dispatch@fs.uaf.edu.

Oct. 1, 2013 -- Campus access issues during construction


Are contingency plans sent to our handi-capable students when there is construction that limits access to buildings? I saw a student in a wheelchair struggle to get into the Bunnell building last week while the parking upgrades were under construction. They had blocked off the walkways in front of Bunnell and Signers' Hall. It was wet and rainy and the grass is uneven along side of the building where other students were cutting through and not an option for someone in a wheelchair. The student would have had to backtrack and go through the Signers' parking lot, around Gruening in front of the library and then weave their way over to Bunnell through the flag pavillion if that was even possible. Access to buildings while the term is in session should be easy for ALL students even if there is construction.


From Mark Wohlford, Facilities Services

Because of the lateness of a construction contract being issued for the Signers' Hall parking lot, we had some additional issues last week in the core. Facilities Services was able to ensure wheelchair access to Bunnell late Tuesday, however. Currently, all of the entrances to the buildings are ADA capable, with perhaps the exception being the entrance to the rear of Brooks, and provisions have been made to better coordinate access to buildings. This has been an exceptionally busy construction season with many building access issues, however, Facilities Services welcomes input on how to make the buildings more accessible.

In addition, Chancellor Brian Rogers and several members of cabinet will get a first hand look at the accessbility of campus as they use a wheelchair or wear vision impairment goggles this week as part of Disability Awareness Month.

Four members of the university's executive leadership team—Rogers and vice chancellors Mike Sfraga, Pat Pitney and Pete Pinney—will participate Oct. 1-3. Access Alaska, a local nonprofit organization, will provide the wheelchairs and goggles. They will share their experiences during a public panel discussion Friday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. in the Wood Center multilevel lounge. The UAF Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity is organizing the activity.

To expedite requests about facilities, please contact dispatch directly at 474-7000 or send an email to dispatch@fs.uaf.edu.

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