Look for the Helpers: Part 3

Mr. Rogers once said that during times of crisis, his mother used to tell him to “look for the helpers.” No matter how bad the situation, “You will always find people who are helping.” Here are some examples of B&F teams who are going above and beyond to help the U-M community. 


Geovanni Pattillo disinfecting touch points near the U-M hospital

The F&O Grounds Services team modified their work considerably to assist with efforts to keep our campus community safe. They have joined in the sanitation efforts by disinfecting outdoor touch points on heavily traveled areas of campus, especially on the medical campus and at the NCRC. Grounds staff are also emptying trash cans and picking up litter as needed and handling any special requests, such as adding new trash cans to hospital entryways for hospital staff to dispose of their masks. 

During the recent heavy rains, the Grounds staff took initiative to prevent water pollution. Last week, sediment made its way into the curbline. Using shovels, brooms and a small loader, the Grounds team cleaned up the sediment before the next rainfall to prevent it from being washed into the storm drain. By doing so, they prevented the sediment from reaching creeks and rivers, where it can interfere with fish and plant life. 


A picture of one of the Children on Campus programs in 2019 that will be adapted to online learning this year

Together with university leaders, the Finance Risk Management staff have been carefully monitoring the evolving circumstances around COVID-19 with the goal of ensuring the safety of the university community, including programs involving children. They have cancelled all in-person Children on Campus programs and Pre-College programs and are researching best practices to implement strategies for virtual learning, focusing their energy on adapting rather than postponing. In collaboration with the Center for Educational Outreach and other Big 10 universities, Risk Management is gathering resources needed to support virtual programs and experiences.


The Finance Print-Copy-Mail team has continued providing their essential services for our university community. The Mail team is still supporting critical functions, such as facilitating the downstream flow of USPS mail, including delivering mail and packages to Michigan Medicine daily. The managers are keeping their team informed with regular electronic communications as well as a visual, handwritten list of each day’s needs.

The Print-Copy team has worked to find scheduling solutions. Though there is a significantly reduced workload, they still have requests that come in every day. Some requests are urgent, such as printing cards or posters for the Michigan Medicine Emergency Room. They’re also adapting to a larger amount of delivery requests for materials they produce.

One of the union staff members made a thoughtful suggestion to schedule their time based on project needs. For example, if a project comes in that requires five hours of work, they’ll schedule an employee to work five hours that day (rather than waiting for a workload that would require a full-shift’s duration). This approach allows the team the opportunity to say yes to customer requests. Some staff even volunteered to create Google calendars to analyze team availability. Working with a representative from Staff HR, they confirmed that their flexible arrangements were appropriate and were pleasantly surprised when the HR representative cited President Schlissel’s call for creative and safe solutions and praised their scheduling ideas.

Print-Copy manager, Roger Meyers, says that his team has been, “continuing to demonstrate incredible flexibility and this transition has been going phenomenally.” He’s proud of his team’s work to provide the university with this essential service. 


If you notice a team or team member who is going out of their way to help, please email the details to BrightSpots@umich.edu!