I came into the office of Doug Schiazza, director of Campus Life, without any ideas about what he actually did. But I did know that I wanted to find out by trailing him for a day. According to Schiazza, he does “everything, you just don’t know about it.”
8:35 a.m.: I meet Schiazza in his office. As soon as I jump over the dog fence in the door, I’m greeted by Hamilton, or Hammy, Schiazza’s right-hand man – an adorable one-year-old pug. He is named after Hamilton College, which Schiazza’s husband, Michael attended. The next thing I notice is the dÃƒÂ©cor. There is too much Simpsons memorabilia to count, but four life size cutouts of all five of the Simpsons, Simpsons Pez dispensers, two Homer rubix cubes and various Simpsons band-aids were a few of my favorites. I conclude that Schiazza is a Simpsons fan.
8:42 a.m.: He starts responding to the 50 plus e-mails in his inbox. According to Schiazza, e-mails take up a huge chunk of his to-do list everyday.
8:45 a.m.: Aaron Gordon, assistant director of Campus Life, drops in. I find out that four of the seven-person staff of Campus Life are out this morning. One is at a conference and three have a doctor’s appointment. Gordon jokingly asks whether Schiazza trained Hamilton or if Hamilton trained Schiazza. From the looks of it, Hamilton has done a pretty good job of training Schiazza. His plush lifestyle inside Schiazza’s office includes a comfy bed, chicken strips treats, biscuits, a pet dinosaur and a few chewy bones.
8:54 a.m.: Schiazza looks at Campus Life grants, processing them and doing transfers. “I’ve been spending some time looking at departmental budgets,” he said. Hamilton starts to snore and then wakes up and drinks out of his water bottle.
8:59 a.m.: Gordon comes into Schiazza’s office to discuss the Web site. “Our Web site is one of the things we want to redo. It’s our Web page and I can’t find half the stuff,” he said.
9:05 a.m.: Jeremy Goldstein ’09 and Peter Nurnberg ’09 drop by, although Schiazza didn’t have a meeting planned. They discuss the recent “no-dogs” rule in Paresky. Schiazza explains that the Board of Health banned dogs from Paresky, but they recently made an exception for the four people on the second floor who keep their dogs in their offices. They then discuss the possibility of a new and revised Bell Book. Schiazza and the two CC co-presidents then discuss the lack of turnout at school parties, especially last First Fridays. He seems genuinely concerned with the dwindling number of partygoers. He wants to make sure that the Campus Life is doing everything they can to facilitate the parties. Goldstein and Nurnberg tell him that the problem is that everyone wants to go to a party that has already started and that no one wants to be the first person there.
9:45 a.m.: A student comes in to play with Hamilton. Schiazza and the student discuss their dogs. Then Schiazza turns back to his e-mails and catches up on his work.
12:00 p.m.: Schiazza goes to a meeting at the faculty club. Dean Merrill has all the managers meet once a month. Although the meeting was necessary, it certainly wasn’t fun. “The hot topic right now is the budget and no one is ever excited about cutting budgets,” he said.
1:27 p.m.: He returns to Paresky and starts hacking away at his ever-present e-mails.
1:40 p.m.: Schiazza and I discuss his love of the Simpsons, a show he has been watching since it first aired in the 1980s. When I ask him which one of the Simpsons he likes the most, he is taken aback. “Wow, that’s a hard question,” he said. “It’s like asking someone which kid they like more. Of the family I get the biggest kick out of Homer. Out of all the characters on the show, I’m leaning toward Ned Flanders. He always seems to laugh at himself.”
1:44 p.m.: Emily Behrman ’09, Dodd neighborhood president, drops in. They discuss the possibilities of parties over Reading Period, as Dodd wants to do Stress-busters at one of the houses. However, Schiazza wants to make sure that the parties are quiet and won’t disrupt other students’ studying. Schiazza signs off on the project, and Behrman then excitedly announces that she has to pick up a package with the Dodd Dalmatian costume.
2:00 p.m.: The Campus Life staff gathers for a “meeting.” It turns out to be a surprise birthday party for Gordon, who is turning 30. All the staff members sing “Happy Birthday” and enjoy a delicious chocolate cake. Behrman returns with her package and models the costume for us. A few of the staff members return to Schiazza’s office to play with Hamilton – he’s by far the most popular in the office.
2:40 p.m.: Pete Mazzacco, Campus Safety and Security Officer, stops by. Hamilton inspired Mazzacco to recently get a girl pug girl named Fifi. Mazzacco stays a few minutes for hugs and kisses with Hamilton.
2:45 p.m.: Schiazza works on transferring money for student grants. The Campus Life office has over $50,000 in grants and Schiazza wants to make sure it goes to the right programs.
4:25 p.m.: The office winds down and everyone prepares to go home for the weekend.
After my day trailing Schiazza, I realized how much the Director of Campus Life actually does each day. Though Hamilton will remain the most popular attraction in Campus Life, at least now I know that there is much more that goes on in Schiazza’s office than playing with a cute little pug.