More technology is employed to efficiently usher through the masses. Those needing one-on-one counsel are given a pager device, similar to the ones used at restaurants when waiting for tables.
But, as Simard explained, there’s a plus to arriving at this late date, too, particularly after mandatory orientation sessions all spring and summer have given students a better idea of what to expect as first-time college students.
This is no longer start-from-scratch material but “there are little things,” needing attention.
And giving it to students are focused people putting blinders on and plowing through the ebbs and flows of the craziness.
“The spurts happen and it’s unpredictable,” Walker said. “But it’s manageable.”
On this day, people like Jon Adams, Huria Tossa, Walker and Safa Khairalla are on the front lines in the admissions area. It’s Jill Zzynskie, Rob Hatcher and Helen Broadbent helping man the desk at financial aid.
Less conspicuous, Lareesa Radcliff is tucked back in an office in the back hallway of enrollment services with the door closed. It’s mid-afternoon and the CCA operator is fielding her 130th call of the day. She’s previously worked similar roles at T-Mobile, at medical complexes and the Indianapolis Hilton, where 250 to 500 calls daily were common.
“As long as I have product knowledge,” she said, “I’m good to go.”
The phone interrupts her thought. “Thank you for calling Community College of Aurora, may I help you? ….”
The staff up front constantly huddles with Cusack, Sangiuliano, Simard and others to ensure the right information is getting doled out at the proper time.
“I hear everything in my office and when people come in and are abusive or yell, they keep their cool no matter what,” said Megan Harris, an admissions counselor in the Center for Outreach and Recruitment, whose desk is just a few steps away from the enrollment services ‘pit’ where much of the activity in that area occurs. “And they know about everything there is to know to have asked about.”
This efficiency this day, though, comes nearly with a price .
“Things were so busy,” registrar and director of admissions Kristen Cusack revealed., “the boss almost died and nobody would have known.”
Seems Cusack was back in her office crunching numbers and drinking a Diet Coke. “It was my last sip,” she recalled.
Indeed, it almost was. Her beverage slipped down the wrong pipe, and as she pounded her chest, she simultaneously processed the irony of a Sangiuliano e-mail popping up on her screen while she was in full cough mode. Cusack knew the message emanated from just a few feet away.
In the end, though, Cusack knew the incident was part and parcel of these busy times. No choking allowed.
And in the quiet that followed, ‘I’ll help the next in line …’ could be heard faintly in the distance.
“This college enrollment student services staff here: best in the state,” Sangiuliano said proudly. “No, best in the USA.”
The day is nearly over, but the waves of people continue to filter in at 4:30. Children can be seen coloring at the back table of the financial aid office. Lines are forming at both doors and the greeter is greeting. The MyCCA kiosks don’t have any openings.
A woman on a cell phone carries her pager down the hall.
The 24-hour payment policy is explained for the umpteenth time.
It’s business as usual on one of the usual busy days. Or maybe not.
A woman standing near the enrollment services welcome sign dons a light jacket, and inside, something moves.
A Chihuahua pokes his head up into the Administration Building light ever so slightly and looks around.
Maybe, it’s Peanut Butter.