Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Campus to close, employees off for extra days in December

A significant morale boost and $20,000 in potential energy savings were enough to persuade University of Denver trustees to essentially close campus for two extra days this December. 

Beginning this year fully benefited employees will get two more paid, floating holidays added to the three days already on the books at Christmas. 

“The impact is that most employees will have a break that goes through Christmas to New Year’s,” says Human Resources Director Richard Gartrell. 

The decision characterizes the holiday period as Winter Break and effectively expands to 12 the number of annual paid holidays for benefited faculty and staff. 

Some departments such as the registrar’s office, the bookstore, payroll, facilities, Housing and Residential Education, and Campus Safety will be required to maintain skeleton crews to meet commitments and prepare for the spring term. 

Employees required to work over Winter Break can use their two extra floating holidays any time before June 30. Employees not required to work over the break must take the time at Christmas, resulting in a break from Dec. 25 until Jan. 2. 

Gartrell said the move was spurred by three considerations: a week off at Christmas is consistent with trends throughout higher education; most faculty and students are not on campus anyway; and staff activity is inconsistent. 

Additionally, lighter use of facilities would save up to $20,000 for the two days, according to estimates from Facilities Management; and morale would get a sizable boost, trustees concluded. 

Some staffers were quick to agree. 

“It’s a perfect idea,” says Marty Neary, a book buyer at the University of Denver Bookstore. “I have a 5-year old who’s off that entire time, so I’ll welcome this.” 

This article originally appeared in The Source, November 2006.

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