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Student Leader Participates in Launch of White House Youth Initiative

Justin Pierce, the Kent State student who participated in a roundtable discussion with President Obama in February, is helping to launch a new White House initiative to encourage young Americans to take a larger role in their government.

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Essential Employees: The Heart of Kent State University

Posted March 28, 2011 | Carrie Drummond
Parts of campus never cease operation.

When cell phones start buzzing with Flash ALERTS about Kent State University closing for a snow day, most students, faculty and staff smile and go right back to bed. However, not everyone gets to crawl back under the covers. For essential employees, it's another day at the office – or out in the elements.

Campus Environment and Operations, Kent State Police Services and the departments of Dining Services, Recreational Services and Residence Services all have employees who are deemed as essential.

One of the main reasons employees must report to campus is to make sure on-campus residents are taken care of. The university power plant produces heating, cooling and electricity for the Kent Campus. The plant must be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, especially to keep residence halls running.

Betsy Joseph, director of the Department of Residence Services, says her department has to function normally because the Kent Campus is home to more than 6,000 residents.

"I think it is human nature for people to enjoy an unexpected day off because of a snow day," Joseph says. "However, we all know that when you work in residence halls, you never completely close. The employees who are identified as essential during a weather closing are invaluable to our being able to fulfill our responsibilities to students. "

Police Services is another area of campus that doesn't slow down for snow days. During emergency conditions, police officers and dispatchers have to protect the Kent State community from accidents on the roads.

Chief of Police John Peach says his department is just doing what they're trained to do.

"Police officers and dispatchers know that the demands of their jobs usually exceed that of other meaningful jobs within the university when weather conditions prevail," Peach says. "I would like to say thank you to everyone in the department for commitment to public safety service to the campus community."

Without the dedication of essential employees, Kent State would come to a standstill on snow days.

"It is hard to express the thanks that all the essential employees deserve," says Roy Christian, director of Campus Environment and Operations. "They keep Kent State University going when everything else stops."