By Mallory Sherwood, Managing Editor
Students’ minds can now rest easy. The task of trekking all over campus to complete or turn in that last piece of paperwork is obsolete now because of the latest addition on campus: The Depot, a one-stop office for students who need to complete administrative needs such as purchasing meal plans or checking financial aid payments, along with other housekeeping tasks.
Phil Schubert, vice president for finance, said that The Depot is a place where students can take care of all their paperwork from meal plans to parking stickers, paying school bills to checking transcripts and getting an ID card.
“Before you had to go to 10 different offices in seven buildings to take care of those different things, and they were spread out across campus,” Schubert said. “It was something over the years that we had heard from students and parents that was frustrating. They didn’t like having to go to six or seven different places to take care of monotonous tasks.”
The Depot, which is in the Campus Center behind the Jelly Bean, had its official grand opening Monday but opened for students on campus early Aug. 8.
Schubert said The Depot had been an idea for the past several years after they began to see other schools going to the same type of setup. He said that planners wanted to put all of the offices together to help minimize the time and effort spent on filling out paperwork.
“Our philosophy is that we don’t want students to focus on these things that aren’t that important; they need to be focusing on building relationships with their peers and professors and taking care of academic business,” Schubert said.
Kevin Roberts, director of re-engineering, spent three years researching and coming up with the logistics for The Depot and said that students were behind his logic for creating the one-stop office.
“We had been talking and planning on ways to better serve the students,” Roberts said. “I started exploring that concept of student customer service, and it took me down the path of a consolidated student services area.”
Roberts said that students should come to use The Depot for several reasons.
“The first thing is convenience,” Roberts said. “That is what the whole thing is driven out of, purely to serve students and make it more convenient for you. The second is that we hope to be a place where you can get answers, or we’ll know who can get them.”
The Depot offers students convenience through any of the 12 employees who work either full or part time, to the pleasant atmosphere with plush chairs and a television, to the new Web site launched on Monday where students can complete paperwork and submit it online.
“The Depot has a significant program online available for students,” Schubert said. “We want to alert them to it because you can basically do everything online that you could in our office. It is a link off of my.ACU named the Depot, and you can take care of those needs without having to step inside.”
Roberts and Schubert said that they hoped the online component of the Depot allows students to quickly get what they need done without wasting any time.
“A key component of The Depot is giving students the opportunity to self serve instead of having to go see somebody,” Robert said. “Any of us would rather do something from the convenience of our living room as opposed to having to go talk to someone.”
The reaction on campus has been positive and encouraging to administrators and workers, Roberts said.
“So far, I have heard nothing but good things,” Roberts said. “It has been very well received from the faculty and staff side and from the students who have come by already. Most people are surprised that you can do as many things that you can.”
Schubert said students are able to take care of so much business in the Depot because of the help given by faculty and staff during this past year and throughout the summer.
He said that representatives from student financial aid, the registrar’s office, Campus Life and Information Technology all helped contribute ideas, personnel and paperwork to create the Depot. Physical Resources, another key department, completed the renovation of the faculty and staff dining room during the summer in time for it to be available for students.
“We, at The Depot, are just excited about the opportunity that we have to help out,” Roberts said. “We just ask that everyone comes by and gives it a try.”