Halley Ofner was dressed as a paper shredder.
And not just any paper shredder. With her black tights, silver top, and scraps of paper taped to her earrings, she was clearly Judy II, the black-and-silver piece of equipment in the Office of Campus Life (OCL). In OCL, people don’t just eat together and compete for the title of Best Desert Cook, they even name their office equipment.
That’s why Ofner could come to the Halloween party—one of many parties on the fourth floor of the Butler Pavilion, where a number of OCL offices are located—as such a recognizable part of daily office life.
A congenial environment at the office is a key part of job satisfaction. At OCL, congeniality is a natural part of the year’s rhythm, from hot dog cook-outs to Halloween parties to desert bake-offs.
The parties may have started on the patio behind the office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), a perfect place for hot dog grilling. They also hold an Oktoberfest, dress up for Halloween, enjoy Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo . . . any time there’s an excuse for a potluck, they’re in favor of it.
The job of ringleader and party planner has fallen in recent times to Ofner, executive assistant to Gail Hanson, vice president of campus life. “We’re big on food here,” she laughs. “That didn’t start with me, but I’m definitely encouraging it.”
The party tradition has meant that staffers get to know a whole other side of their colleagues. Christy Nichols and Chemayn Gray of ISSS are known for their Halloween costumes. Bernie Schultz in OCL is famed for his deserts, such as his prize-winning pumpkin cheesecake.
“We never go without food here,” says Senem Bakar of ISSS, who is known for her stuffed grape leaves.
And yes, even the office equipment gets to stand out, like Marilyn the curvy copy machine, Princess Yasmin the water cooler, and Judy II the paper shredder, named after another shredder that was in turn named after a deceased bulldog. As for the poinsettia tree, that’s Oscar III.
Hot dogs, cheesecake, parties, and more hot dogs . . . it’s all in a day’s work at the Office of Campus Life.