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Beyond equipment considerations, Dobbs' department — which adds about 100 seasonal employees each year — must cope with the demands created by a campus with more than 47,000 students and 560 buildings. Additional department activities include maintaining:
Crews also perform site construction work at new buildings and for other campus improvements.
The university's academic departments that need help with landscape and turf projects can choose to use the landscape services department, but they also can choose to have the department bring in an outside contractor to perform the work.
So to strengthen the landscape services department's standing on campus, the department in 2007 developed a more strategic approach to securing on-campus landscape and turf work.
Part of the new strategy has included expanding the use of social media — including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — to get out the word about the department's activities and resources to the campus community.
The department also has expanded its training opportunities to help workers build their skill sets, and it began to collaborate more with other areas of operation at the university. Specifically, the department began to work more closely with, among others, the engineering and architectural services department and the trades.
"There was more partnering with them to see what other kinds of things we could be doing," Dobbs says. "We developed strong partnerships and supported each other."
The department also started working more closely with the university's horticulture department to grow flowers for the campus.
Says Dobbs, "We get the benefit of having high-quality flowers for the campus."
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