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OSAF narrows director search

After undergoing a complete physical and organizational overhaul this summer, the newly revamped Office of Student Activities and Facilities is preparing to hire a full-time director.

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Zoila Airall, who is heading the OSAF on an interim basis, said a job offer has been extended to a "very competitive" candidate and that the directorship should be filled by Oct. 15 at the latest.

The Office of Student Activities merged with the Event Advising Center effective Aug. 1, forming the OSAF. Groups seeking to reserve space in the Bryan Center and other locations now go through the combined office instead of shuttling between the OSA and the EAC for authorization.

"It's much more consolidated," said Assistant Director for Student Affairs Brian Denton. "People are not running back and forth between the two offices. There's much better communication because we're all together."

The OSAF's new director will be intimately involved in planning for the new West Campus student village, Airall said, and will be "the key person" for village programming. Also joining the student activities staff with the merger is Roger Belanger, coordinator for space management and planning, who will work extensively on the village project.

Airall said there are still kinks to be worked out and that the OSAF still needs to communicate information about the new system to some student groups, but that the transition has been relatively smooth.

Some space on campus must be reserved through other offices, since some of the events management operation is still lumped in with Auxiliary Services. Academic rooms must be reserved through the Registrar's Office, for example, and events in or around residence halls require registration with Residential Life and Housing Services.

"We can't be an ultimate one-stop shop," Denton said, "but we can at least give people the resources to know everybody they need to talk to."

The OSAF also spruced up its advising for clubs last spring with a new website, co-sponsored by Duke Student Government, called Student Organization Advising Resources On-line. SOAR includes topics like "Starting an Organization," "Motivating Members," and "Effective E-mail Communication."

Airall said the OSAF will be educating groups and their advisors in a series of workshops designed to improve organizations' effectiveness. A project for club presidents, treasurers and one additional member each will aid these officials with strategies for operating a student organization, and advisor orientation will follow.

"We had a lot of the pieces [of good advising in the old OSA] but it wasn't a smooth-running operation, so we needed to make some changes," Airall said. "The goal was to make sure that all organizations are getting the same information, and getting it in a timely manner. We wanted students to be good leaders."

The ultimate manifestation of the revitalized OSAF is the major renovation of its physical office space. The space, located in the Bryan Center, received a new carpet and paint job and its offices were reconfigured over the summer.

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