Shippen relishes role behind the scenes helping new students make campus home

· 3 min read

Shippen relishes role behind the scenes helping new students make campus home

Larry Shippen sits near a red container used for student move-in
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing
Larry Shippen

You might call Larry Shippen a maestro — conducting behind the scenes to make the new Husker experience a great one.

As the director of housing facilities operations at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, he is the backbone of a well-oiled move-in machine. Recently, University Communication and Marketing talked with Shippen to learn more about how he continues to make this time special for Husker families.

What is your role within the university and what does it entail?

My role within the university involves oversight and supervision of facilities operations for UNL Housing (maintenance, construction and custodial operations).

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is working with staff and students. I also enjoy overseeing construction and renovation projects.

Talk about the prep leading up to move-in.

The prep leading up to moving in includes turning rooms (custodial work: cleaning and preparing student rooms after a long summer of conference operations). Facilities work — checking each room to assure all systems are working: HVAC, plumbing and electrical. Checking blinds, windows and furniture for flaws and making repairs or replacements where damage has occurred. Evaluating and touching up painting walls and other surfaces. Lofting beds. Testing and evaluating fire life safety systems, (fire alarms and fire sprinklers as well as annual elevator inspections) and ordering dumpsters (cardboard and trash) in preparation for move-in.

What does the day/morning of move-in look like?

Hopefully, we have successfully prepared in advance, and all is ready, so we will be there to assist with move-in and whatever comes up.

How has move-in evolved over the years?

The biggest change would be our cruise ship-style move-in process. Students will check in over at the Bob Devaney Sports Center and meet our cruise ship movers at their dorm who basically collect whatever property they (the students) brought with them to put in their rooms. Then the cruise ship movers will actually bring the property over. We will take it right up to their room, and place it inside their room so it is there when the students arrive. So, just like a cruise ship, when they take your luggage at check-in and the next time you see your luggage, it’s actually in your room.

Talk about your team and the importance of the work that you all do.

We, like many operations, are running very short-staffed. I am extremely proud of the individuals I work with in both our custodial and maintenance operations. They are dedicated to the work they do and provide high-quality service. We have one opportunity for a first impression and our team works hard to go beyond expectations to provide clean, well-maintained living accommodations. We have heard from many visiting families that our facilities are the cleanest, and very well-maintained spaces, that they have toured.

Describe the value of providing exceptional service and support during move-in for first-year students and families. Why is it important to make this time special?

It’s about student and family satisfaction. We provide comfort to the students so that they can feel like this is their home, and it makes them feel more successful both personally and academically as they meet new friends. We try to make people feel comfortable enough that they’ll return next year. It is proven through study that students who live on campus longer are more successful than those that don’t because you have so much more support on campus. There are more mentors and more opportunities available to you on campus that are not available off campus.

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