Backbone of CSU: Behind the scenes at the LSC

If you have spent any time on campus, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve been in the Lory Student Center.

It may not be apparent now that campus activities have moved online, but any other time of the year the LSC is buzzing with students, faculty and visitors.

It’s a great place to grab coffee or a bite to eat. Besides the daily crowd, it also provides a facility for hosting many events. The question is, who takes care of it day in and day out, always making sure it is clean and available for use? I had the pleasure of talking with Nancy Cowley, Environmental Services Manager, and Tamene Abebe, Director of Operations and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Executive Director for the Lory Student Center.   

It takes a team

It is no small feat to keep the student center up and running. The Operations Department consists of Environmental Services and Maintenance staff including the director, assistant to the director, and two students. The maintenance team consists of four technicians and one student.

It takes a team of 52 active hourly students in the Environmental Services department, two nine-month employees, and 12 full-time staff. When there are large events, it requires the help of even more staff. 

There are, of course, daily routines that come with the job but there are many other things that need to get handled.  “What haven’t we handled?” Cowley said.

Whether it be injuries, emergencies, maintenance, or helping a customer new to the building find their way, their teams have handled it all.  

No matter how many odd jobs there may be, it’s the variety that both Cowley and Abebe enjoy about their work. For them, every day is different depending on the events and building schedule. 

Meeting many new people, both visitors and workers, is something they enjoy most about their positions. Cowley explained, they have had many countries represented through students working at the LSC in previous years.  

Along with the rest of CSU, the Operations and Maintenance staff at the LSC also are committed to helping decrease our environmental impact. Around the building there are plenty of places to recycle, but behind the scenes, composting is happening as well. At the restaurants, coffee shops, and even down to the paper towels in the bathrooms, things are being composted. They do their part at the LSC and help ensure that waste is properly taken care of and done in a way that gives back.  

Despite the recent closures on campus there are still members of the environmental service staff working at the LSC. Their shifts have been modified to ensure that fewer people are working together at this time. They play a key role right now in providing aid to the students who remain in Fort Collins.

“Environmental services staff were critical to the Mobile Food Pantry program which operated out of the LSC Theatre yesterday, both in helping to ensure a clean and sanitized work environment, along with assisting in packing of food boxes,” Ellis explained.

About 70 LSC employees helped with the mobile food pantry staff from Environmental Services, Event Planning, LSC Dining, and SLiCE employees leading the effort.  

The LSC plays a big part in helping create community on campus and is a place for everyone to gather regardless of department, job, or what role you play on campus. “We’re here to serve, we welcome everybody to come, and we value relationships,” Abebe explained. 

As for the LSC renovations and ALVS addition, the project has been postponed from beginning this summer due to COVID-19. The intent is to resume planning in the fall and to adjust the schedule moving forward.