Union Hires a New Assistant Director

After an academic year of budget cuts and layoffs, the Union is hiring an assistant director.

Frank Chacon, from the University of Southern Colorado, will take charge of marketing, recreation and programming on July 30.

“Programming is just central to what we do as the community center of the campus, and we need to beef it up,” said Whit Hollis, Union director.

The money for Chacon’s position comes from externally generated revenue such as rent from offices and the auxiliary fund. The money that was cut earlier this year?and resulted in the loss of 1.25 positions?was state money.

“The two different budgets don’t balance. I had to let the positions go because of the cards the state dealt me,” Hollis said.

Hollis had the choice of letting the positions go or cutting programming, which he wasn’t willing to do.

“We did what we felt was in the students’ best interest,” he said.

“Cutting programming just wasn’t an option.”

To improve the programming, Chacon’s job includes increasing tournaments and activities involving the billiards and bowling areas downstairs in the Union.

“Frank will be spearheading new ideas for activities in the Union as well,” Hollis said.

Hollis says programming in the Union has been one of the challenges he has faced since he started at the U about 18 months ago.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been trying to look at how to go about this to improve the quality of the Union services,” he said.

In the past few months, Hollis has been looking at bringing non-U companies into the Union to increase both service to students and revenue.

A Kaplan testing center?which provides preparatory classes for graduate school entrance exams?nearly moved in, but wasn’t the right fit, according to Hollis. The proposed testing center would have moved into offices behind the billiards area, which would have removed three billiards tables, or in an office in the fourth floor, according to Ryck Luthi, Union associate director.

Last summer, Hollis proposed a plan to move the art gallery out of its location and display art in cases throughout the Union if a business moves in that would better fit in the space. However, Hollis has not yet found a business that would work in the area, but the space could potentially be used for something other than the gallery.

“Displaying art in the Union is part of our mission, but if a business moved in, we would radically change the way that art is displayed,” he said in an earlier interview.

He is still searching for businesses to come into the Union, but he is now looking at campus entities as well as private companies. If Hollis can’t find a business to move in by the end of summer, he will postpone the search until next summer.

“Our goal is to improve services to the students, and we’re looking for businesses that would fit that criteria,” he said.

[email protected]