The Live Wire – Impact of Friday Night Football on Campus

The Live Wire – Impact of Friday Night Football on Campus


(Instrumental music playing) Stephen Ward: Hello everybody and welcome again to the Live Wire, a special edition
of the Live Wire which this time is once again related to football. It seems like we’ve
done a lot of football related Live Wires over the last year or two, and this one relates
to another first in UNC Charlotte’s unfolding adventure in Division 1 FBS Football. We have
our first night game coming up on a weeknight and that poses some issues for those of us
who are a part of the immediate University community. We’re gonna find out a good bit
more in the next few minutes about everything we need to know when it comes to working on
that day, and parking on that day, and the vital details of being an employee here at
UNC Charlotte. So here to elaborate and illuminate, we have Jeanne Madorin from Human Resources
and Keith Wassum from Business Services. And in thinking about how to start this, I guess
maybe we could frame it in sort of a cause and effect. So Jeanne if you don’t mind
we’ll start with Keith, because Keith we want to talk about the parking situation on
this Friday. And just to be clear, we’re talking about Friday, October 2nd and we have
a game that day, 7 p.m., here on campus. But the situation for the rest of us begins really
on Thursday, right? Keith Wassum: Yes, it does. It’s a 7:00
game but we’ll put our event parking plan and traffic plan into place by 2:00 that day.
Stephen Ward: On Thursday? Keith Wassum: On Thursday, no actually on
Friday. But on Thursday, Thursday night we’ll close lots that are used, surface lots, and
I need to make that clear. We’ll be closing surface lots that might be used by faculty,
staff, and students. But our lots that are used for the event parking, they will close
Thursday at midnight and so vehicles need to be out and we’ll have signage up as we
do every game telling people that. So that would be similar to what we do for a Saturday
game but it will be starting on Thursday night. We are going to let faculty, staff, and students
park in deck areas that are used for event parking. That would be the Union Deck, West
Deck, the CRI Deck. What am I leaving out? I think those are the main ones and anyone
who parks in those on Friday morning will need to leave start leaving at 12:30 p.m.
They’ll need to be out of those decks by 2:00. If they’re not out of those decks,
then they’re gonna receive a citation and we really don’t want to do that. So the
best way to avoid that, particularly for faculty and staff, is to not use those areas and we
have alternative areas we can recommend that you park in when you come to work on Friday
morning. That’s the safest thing. Once they, if they park in those decks, they’re gonna
have to leave, and they’re gonna have to move their car. So unless you’re leaving
for the day at lunchtime, I suggest you park in an alternative Deck.
Stephen Ward: Alright. In just a minute, let’s talk about those alternate locations in greater
detail. But Jeanne when folks here this, they gotta be thinking did Keith Wassum: just tell
me I have to go home? (Laughing) Is that Keith’s role to tell me I have to go home? I think
I have a supervisor, I probably ought to talk that over with that person. So how does this
work for everybody across the spectrum of our employees from faculty members who have
a class to teach, to staff members who sit in an office all day, to staff members who
are out doing things on the grounds during the day, everybody. What are the things we
must know about that situation that’s coming up?
Jeanne Madorin: Well, there are some options that are available to employees. It is expected
that the offices will be open, and they will be adequately staffed until 5p.m. or during
the normal core business hours. So some of the options that are available to employees
is they can use leave time, or bonus leave/vacation leave, or crew compensatory time. If they
are able to and it’s approved by their supervisor, they can telework from an offsite location.
So those are some options that are available to employees of course as you said. They do
need to discuss these options with their supervisor and make sure that their supervisor approves.
Stephen Ward: For somebody who may be hearing this for the first time in this conversation
on the Live Wire, where have you been? But besides that we have talked about this. We
have had communications on campus, and we know because we can track the open rate on
those emails that they’ve been seen which is good. But in that vein, what are the questions
you’ve been hearing specifically from whether it’s faculty and staff coming into HR or
what kinds of information do you have on the ready because you anticipate the most frequently
asked questions? Jeanne Madorin: I think the biggest question
is the one you just raised: is the campus closed, are we being told to go home, and
is that basically free time? And the answer to that is no, the campus is not closed, it
will be open, it’s not considered free time, but again there are options. And one that
I didn’t mention is employees can also flex their time. They can flex their time so that
they reach their normal work week by Noon on Friday. So there’s many options available
to employees. The last option is they can be here until 5 p.m.
Stephen Ward: Is this from both of your perspectives? Is there a similar situation on other campuses
that have been doing these night weeknight games at Division 1 Football level? I mean
is this kind of what everybody goes through and you just have to do this?
Keith Wassum: Yes, and every campus has their own plan but they’re doing something probably
similar to what we’re doing. What we have on our campus which is somewhat similar as
our Commencement we do our Friday afternoon Commencement. We’re doing an iteration of
that plan because on Commencement day, on Friday, faculty and staff also have to adjust
their parking patterns. So we’re doing that in a little bit larger scale but it’s the
same concept. Stephen Ward: Yeah. Let’s take a look at
a few resources that are available on the web. Starting let’s go…let’s take a
look right now at Inside UNC Charlotte. We do have space set aside for updates related
to the parking situation in which we find ourselves, and then also if you go to parking
and transportation services on the web, pats.uncc.edu, boom, right there UNC Charlotte football parking
with lots of useful information. And then Keith Wassum: let’s take a closer look at
this map which you’ve reminded me is the iteration of our campus aerial view that also
designates areas for event parking. And I think for the sake of our discussion folks
take a look at this and you can probably pretty quickly orient yourself to what we’re looking
at here. But as we talk about the situation beginning at the end of that week of that
October 2nd game, who all is affected again? Is this anybody, everybody ultimately?
Keith Wassum: Yeah, ultimately. Just about any…everybody except for the possibly those
people that are on the east side of campus like Cato and Fretwell who might normally
park in the East Deck. Anyone who normally parks in East Deck or that side of campus
is probably not really effected by this plan. Stephen Ward: At least throughout our experiences
with football, has always been available even on football Saturdays?
Keith Wassum: That’s correct, that is the Deck that’s available during stadium events.
Stephen Ward: Have we ever had any issue with that being overcrowded, too full?
Keith Wassum: No, no we haven’t. We always have space. It may you know if East Deck 1’s
filled, we’d have East Deck 2 and 3. That’s not an issue.
Stephen Ward: Do you have not just the sense but the knowledge because I know you have
this kind of knowledge but do we have adequate alternate parking for everybody?
Keith Wassum: Yeah, yes we do. Based on our…we do counts on our parking spaces every year
and we do a Friday count. So based on that count, which on Fridays particularly, we have
fewer classes…we feel pretty comfortable that we can park people in alternate parking
areas. Stephen Ward: Well Jeanne, I wouldn’t ask
you to be hardnosed about this, but it kind of seems like if you just take a couple minutes,
you can figure this out and you probably don’t need to ask to have that time off on that
Friday right? Am I right? Jeanne Madorin: We’re encouraging supervisors
to be very flexible with the time off. We recognize that some employees may be going
to the game and so they may want to take off a few hours earlier to just to get ready for
the game. Stephen Ward: Ok. Alright and Keith, what
else can you tell us about the state of affairs with access to and exit from campus either
on the routes heading out of campus or the highways coming into campus as far as where
we expect to be on that date October 2nd. And the reason I ask is because even as we’re
talking now, you can’t help but notice there’s a good bit of construction going on and is
this just gonna kinda gum it up all the more? Although it’s great to be gummed up because
the alternative is no progress at all. And I always like to say that but do you anticipate
that will kind of magnify the challenge? Keith Wassum: I wish I could tell you no.
But I think it will, we have to recognize that on only given Friday afternoon the traffic
appears to be worse earlier in the day because people are leaving work or near uptown so
we have to keep that in mind, secondly, we have to keep in mind that we will be drawing
hopefully 12-15 thousand people to the game that evening and they will be coming they’re
not gonna come at six o clock they’re gonna be coming at 3-4-5 o clock. So my recommendation
is for people to just plan accordingly and basically to try to leave the main entrance,
the entrance off of the east decks, or John Kirk but recognize that you’re gonna run
into traffic and that’s just kind of the reality.
Stephen Ward: What else is on our football schedule this year? Are we going to have another
situation…? Keith Wassum: We…this we have a Saturday
night game this week but that’s not really effecting our what we’re doing in terms
of our class schedule as far as I know all the other games are on Saturday, yeah.
Stephen Ward: Now I suppose those of us here at UNC Charlotte, unless we have some kind
of passing interest, and let’s say some other universities that play football, haven’t
had a lot of reason to really become fluent and conversant with the many times that football
games are played at the FBF level – gone are the days which it’s just a Saturday
afternoon thing. So this Friday night thing is likely to happen again, we are ok our team
is going to improve every week and that’s great, but we’re a pretty hot media market
and there’s certainly a lot of interest in getting televised games out of Charlotte
and certainly on a Friday night. There are other days of the week when somewhere down
the road this is going to happen to, and in both of your opinions if it has to be not
on a Saturday, is Friday the best time? Keith Wassum: Friday is certainly the best
time from a parking perspective because of our class schedule, we have more available
alternative parking for faculty, staff, and students it will allow us to close most of
the event lots Thursday night and still have adequate parking in our deck areas and so
without a doubt it will be more difficult on a Thursday to do that. When we get to that
point we’ll have to re-look at our plan but Friday yes.
Stephen Ward: Similarly as I suppose from employee issues?
Jeanne Madorin: It’s the same, business seems to decline a little bit on Friday afternoons
and so offices can get by with minimal staffing. Stephen Ward: This might be a loaded question
but you know as far as our campus culture goes do you anticipate this kind of this is
going to come with a lot of genuine consternation or you know I suppose there’s a few in every
crowd that like to grumble about things is that do you expect that? I mean on the scale
of problems that are campus or challenges that our campus might face where does this
fall? Jeanne Madorin: I really haven’t heard a
lot of grumbling about it, I think part of it is we got a lot of time to plan and consider
how you’re going to handle your time during that day. It’s a change, and I think people
naturally resistance a little bit to change, but as we get used to it I think it will become
a fact of life here is that we have events that are going to cause us a little inconvenience
from time to time. Stephen Ward: Alright
Keith Wassum: And I think with commencement we hear very few complaints, and we’ve it’s
a similar plan faculty and staff have to park in an alternative location East deck and that
really hasn’t been an issue. I know we have people that are really athletic supporters
and some that aren’t really into athletics, and so we might hear a little bit more this
year but I think the important thing is what we’re doing now, trying to communicate in
advance what those alternatives are. The people that tend to get upset are people that aren’t
aware of the plan and they go “Oh what happened – I can’t get here to there?” So…
Stephen Ward: Or if they step out of their office at any point Friday and they smell
barbecue or hear music and go, “What’s going on and I just came out from under my
rock”. No but just one other question related to this then this will be a regular football
game with tailgating and that will be going on campus while many of us are here at work
right? Keith Wassum: Tailgating starts four hours
before the game time so tailgating can technically start at 3 o clock. 3 o clock we’ll be opening
up all the event lots for people who have parking permits for those lots to come into
them. I want to go back and be sure we mentioned the alternative parking for that day is the
I’m looking up here – is the east deck 1, east deck 1 is you have premium gate access,
east deck 2 and 3 for anyone else, lots 4a, 5, 5a which are also located on the east side
of campus, yes the north deck, and the south village deck.
Stephen Ward: Ok Keith Wassum: Now some people may think hey
those north deck south village decks are way too far away but we have shuttle service to
all those areas, we’ll be running our regular shuttle service that day. So literally you
could go to east deck or you could go to north deck, first thing in the morning, park their
get the shuttle, get to work, and take the shuttle back. And I do recommend that because
it avoids having to move your car in the middle of the day a, and b it puts you in a better
location of getting off campus at the end of the day.
Stephen Ward: So if you’re on campus and let’s just say you parked over in the east
side here and your ready to go home, it’s a normal time to go home for you let’s say
mid-to late afternoon, and you notice gee there’s some extra noise extra barbeque
smells on campus it must be football time. Are you going to have any trouble getting
off campus particularly from over on the east side? Do you head out on John Kirk?
Keith Wassum: I think you would have to have the same problem you would have on any day
or any given Friday afternoon, in terms of getting out and be able to go one direction
or another. But a lot of the event parking actually comes in of off Mallard Creek off
of Cameron, or the main entrance, or the side entrance, or the 29. You will not I guess
the one thing I should note that is important for people to know is that once we implement
the plan at 3 o clock, you will not be able to traverse the campus from main campus to
the CRI campus. So you will not be able to go down road, you will not be able to go down
Phillips road and out 29. So Stephen Ward: Just head east if you can
Keith Wassum: Yes Stephen Ward: And that entrance the south
entrance you said the south village deck is an option
Keith Wassum: Yes Stephen Ward: But maybe some good advice would
be go east if you can because of the traffic situation on 49?
Keith Wassum: Well I think, I think you can take south village directly to the main entrance
and out or you can go down Alumni way and make a left that may be a little bit more
difficult to go out the south entrance so yeah I would probably pick north deck, or
east deck first to answer your question. Stephen Ward: Now how are plans coming along
for the universities rights celebration of the stop lights on 49 (laughing) because we’ll
be there. Keith Wassum: Yeah I can’t wait. I think
we have lights to go up on both Cameron Mary Alexander which would be nice, and then you
also got the south entrance, and also you got Craver and I guess Craver and Cameron
so yeah that’s going to really improve traffic flow I think internal to campus, but getting
on and off campus. So yeah… Stephen Ward: Alright well before we wind
up let me just make sure from both Jeanne Madorin: Madorin and Keith Wassum: Wassum,
anything else we’ve missed because I don’t want to pass up any opportunity while we have
you two here on the Live Wire to be sure we’re not fully prepared for October 2nd.
Keith Wassum: I think I want to go back and be sure that I think I left one of the decks
out but Cone decks 1 and 2, lots of people park there, CRI deck 1, Union deck, and West
deck all those decks need to be vacated before 2p.m.
Stephen Ward: Ok Keith Wassum: And so it’s important for
you know if you park there regularly and you can park in an alternative location, I encourage
you to do that. If you are parking there, you have to park there, just know you need
to be out of there before two o clock. Also know we didn’t touch on this but all these
surface lots for used for tailgating, we talked about being closed, so we’ll have barriers
there and just know that they won’t be available so like lot 23 up in CRI campus, all the surface
lots there and the other lots that are 18 and 19 below the union building. So those
will not be available on that day but yes Stephen Ward: there should be adequate parking
in the union deck, all the alternative decks that we mentioned to accommodate all those
people. Stephen Ward: Alright
Jeanne Madorin: And I think from my end, we didn’t mention second and third shift employees
and for some of them this will be occurring when they normally report to work. So we’re
asking supervisors to look at that to plan ahead if a person works on second or third
shift, to try to make sure that they know where they’re supposed to be park maybe
even flex their schedule so they’re not coming right in with the crowd and just make
people aware of that and we have talked to the second and third shift supervisors and
I think they’re working with their staffs to try to make it easy for them so nobody
gets stuck in a grid and can’t get out. Keith Wassum: That is important and I think
they’re working with our parking people as far as how they would access parking.
Stephen Ward: Alright, well it sounds like we have a fun day to look forward to for a
lot of reasons and hopefully the biggest reason is that the 49ers will be, let’s see, building
on…stepping ahead into the winning record column at that point of the season. But again,
it’s a time for firsts at UNC Charlotte. For a lot of schools, this is standard operating
procedure but it’s kind of exciting to be part of a University where this kind of thing
is new to us and just to make sure everything is working well. I think we all feel like
there is nothing wrong with communicating about it and, in fact, over communicating
about it. And we’ll also be sending more information about it to folks in their email
as well. So, in the meantime, we want to say thank you once again to Jeanne Madorin: Madorin
from HR and Keith Wassum: Wassum from Business Services. Both of your topic areas are always
so great so we will be looking forward to having you back on the Live Wire some time
over the course of this next year. Cross our fingers for October 2nd.
Keith Wassum: Please do. Stephen Ward: Alright. Thanks again.
Jeanne Madorin: Thank you. Stephen Ward: Alright. We’ll be back next
time on the Live Wire and keep watching here on Inside UNC Charlotte.
(Instrumental music playing)

About the Author: Garret Beatty

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