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Campus maintenance push puts 'Students First'

Jan. 7, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University students will have same-day response to non-emergency maintenance requests in residence halls and University apartments beginning this month.

The Students First program complements the online maintenance service request system, Bronco Fix-It, launched in administrative and staff buildings a year ago and in student residence areas this past fall. Quicker response to student maintenance issues is in line with WMU President Diether Haenicke's push to provide better service to students.

"We asked, 'What do the students really want?' As a result, our management and skilled trades reorganized and changed priorities for better customer service," says Peter Strazdas, director of WMU's Maintenance Services Division.

In the past, students submitted maintenance requests in writing to residence hall staff. The messages were forwarded to Maintenance Services and then sent to one of four maintenance shops across campus to staff who fixed the problems.

How it works

Residence Life staff and students report maintenance issues online at www.reslife.wmich.edu. An e-mail confirming the request and issuing a reference number is immediately sent back to the person requesting the work.

Once a request has been processed, the sender receives a second e-mail notice.

A maintenance person is sent to the residence within 24 hours, and a third e-mail message is sent once the work is completed.

"Everyone on campus needs to be thinking about students. It's not just a nice slogan. It really has to be a culture," says Strazdas. "We can show the students we mean it by getting there as fast as we can and giving them an immediate response. It will make a difference to them and make Western Michigan University the place to go."

The new program will affect about 4,400 students who currently live in residence halls and another more than 530 students and their families who live in campus apartments.

"Our focus is student success. Minimizing the 'hassle factor' with respect to completing repairs in a timely fashion is an important component in providing a positive living and learning environment for our students," says Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

As always, maintenance emergencies are given priority and handled by calling the Physical Plant Service Center at (269) 387-8514 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours emergencies should be reported to the WMU Department of Public Safety at (269) 387-5555.

Posters and brochures explaining the new program will be sent to students and placed in residence halls and University apartments.

Maintenance Services processes about 50,000 requests a year campuswide for all 150 buildings, says Strazdas. That number has grown an average 150 per month since the online request system opened in September 2006 for the University's 2,780 available residence hall rooms and 437 available campus apartment units.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400