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Craig Petersen wanted to find a way for the facilities staff and the staff and students of the University of San Francisco to interact a bit better, and get to know each other.
He created a buzz by bringing a beehive to campus for everyone to work on.
In the June 5 Minutes With Podcast, Petersen speaks with FMD associate editor Dave Lubach about the campus and the importance of facilities staffs to better know and communicate with the people they interact with on a regular basis.
Director of Operations
University of San Francisco
1. Has disconnect between your staff and the students and faculty been a challenge in the past?
I've only been here about 18 months, but when I was hired, my boss emphasized a desire to come up with projects that enable faculty, staff, students and perhaps neighbors to collaborate on projects of mutual benefit.
2. How did the idea of a beehive come about, and have you tried other activities previously?
I saw an online demonstration of a Flow Hive (www.flowhive.com) and thought that might be a good candidate for the collaboration we had in mind. We have fully supported Earth Day and other awareness activities, but they seem to be viewed as one-day events. Managing a beehive has the benefit of being a long-term project.
3. Did you receive the reaction you anticipated?
So far, I'd say it has exceeded our expectations. My engineers and landscapers helped assemble the hive and clear the area where it was placed. Faculty and staff members who have experience with their own hives have been instrumental in providing their knowledge and experience. The students have been amazing and very enthusiastic, and they actively participate in opening the hive and inspecting it and assessing its overall health. A couple of students have requested to use the beehive to conduct a biology research project under the oversight of one of their professors.
4. How has this experience helped the relationship between your staff and campus?
I think it shows that the staff can support the academic mission in ways beyond just fixing things and keeping the campus clean and well tended.
5. How do you and your staff benefit from these kinds of interactions?
Maintaining the beehive has enabled Facilities to build some deeper relationships and during our weekly "show and tell" of the hive we broaden the discussion into looking into other ways the students can help us maintain a clean and attractive campus.
6. Do you have other similar activities planned?
We don't have any other activities planned just yet, but we are always open to innovative ways to connect with the larger campus community.
Grounds, maintenance and operations