University prepares for back to school

Faculty and staff have been working hard to ready campus for the fall semester.

Maisha Downey

As students scurried around campus searching for their respective classrooms, food or books last week, University staff and faculty were ready.

Planning and preparation for the University bookstores, Boynton Health Service and University Landcare began at the beginning of the summer.

Bob Crabb, director of the three campus bookstores – at Coffman Union, on the St. Paul campus and the Law School – started preparing for school in July when new textbooks began arriving. 

Each semester, Crabb said the bookstore receives 8,000 new textbooks from publishers around the world.

For a store that typically has sales from $20,000 to $30,000 a day, Crabb said he expected the first day of school sales to be around $1.7 million.

Crabb said his highest priority this summer was to train his more than 300 employees for the first day of school.

The staff at the Coffman bookstore will operate 60 cash registers, which will all be up and running for the afternoon rush.

“Even during our busiest noon hour, students should only have to wait two to three

minutes to checkout,” he said.

Even though the process is quick, it doesn’t necessarily make book shopping easier for students.

Last week, first-year finance student Konstantin Butskiy bought his books and said he was intimidated by the size of the bookstore. 

“It’s so confusing,” Butskiy said.  “I was really freaked out at first but had a lot of help.”

Medical senior Mariam Sultani spent about $400 on her textbooks.

“Books are expensive and I don’t think they should be,” she said.

The University does mark up the cost of its books, Crabb said. Typically, a book that costs the bookstore $75 will be sold for $100. That extra $25 goes to building and operations costs, Crabb said.

Sultani said she considered buying online but decided it wasn’t for her.

“It’s just a hassle and I honestly don’t have the time,” she said.

Health Services
At Boynton Health Service, Director Dave Golden’s staff just finished parent orientations.

Parents learned about insurance coverage through the clinic. Golden said one of the most common questions of both parents and students is if they are covered at Boynton.

“Most services like office visits, labs and X-rays are indeed covered by the $104 student service fee paid each semester,” Golden said.

Hordes of students returning to campus won’t stop University landcare from continuing to manicure the area.

Grounds Superintendent Les Potts said work around campus won’t end for a few more months.

“We have land-care projects scheduled out until the ground freezes,” he said. 

While trees are being planted and sod is being laid until the first day of school, the work of University Landcare is not organized around students’ return to campus.

Instead, Potts said he prioritizes areas on campus that need work by their deadline, the amount of time they will take and whether or not they have the necessary materials. 

Some projects might get bumped down the list for a couple of years, while other smaller landscaping projects might be done sooner as “fillers” between larger projects.