Employees Give Back Again


The doors were closed to the public and students this week while faculty and staff at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College met for training on new systems and to participate in community service  projects.  Opening Institute is a yearly event that is schedule during the first week of every August.

The new Northstar Student Information System (SIS), which was developed by Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) staff, went live on July 1, 2010 for the new fiscal year.  The new system replaces an overworked and antiquated system that will benefit students, faculty and staff by providing more relevant and detailed information while streamlining many processes including tracking attendance, progress and tuition payments.

Employees at the college were involved in months of researching systems, customizing reports and transferring data into the new system.  The response has been positive on campus.  John Kristensen, an electrical instructor and member of the SIS team commented, “There are many advantages for using the new system.  It simplifies tracking attendance, progress and generating reports, which will allow instructors more time to spend with students. Northstar gives students more access to their educational information and will provide a campus wide system everyone can access for better coordination between departments.”

The college also implemented a new mass communication system to inform employees and students about campus closures or other emergencies via text, email, voicemail and phone.  “This system is something we have needed on our campus for some time,” said Rhonda Lauritzen, V.P. for Student Services.  “It allows us to ensure a higher level of safety and the ability to reach students and staff in a way that we have not had in the past.”  The system can be accessed on or off campus by authorized users in the event an emergency occurs during off hours.  Since messages are re-directed via a state outside of Utah, the system will not be affected by local hazards, which makes it much more reliable than other systems.

In a continued effort to serve the community, all employees participated in service projects as part of the week’s activities, for the second year in a row.  Projects included several Youth Impact assignments to paint a new summer mural, help kids build bird houses, organize a storage area, and manage arts and crafts data.  Others projects included sorting and doing inventory for medical supplies at the Swanson Family Foundation.  At the Swanson Family Foundation Tactical Training Center volunteers stripped and painted baffles.  Some volunteers worked at installing a disc-golf course on the OWATC campus and others prepared emergency buckets for classrooms.  Employees logged over 1200 hours of community service. “We receive such tremendous support from the community,” said Collette Mercier, College President, “that we feel a responsibility to give back, and having this opportunity while students are away allows everyone on campus to participate.”

Other activities during the week included employee recognition, presidential awards, and division and department training.  “This week gives us all a chance to re-direct our focus, catch our breath and re-group for the new fiscal year,” said Jim Taggart, V.P. for Instructional Services.  “It helps us help our students.”


The Swanson Family Foundation Tactical Training Center

The Swanson Family Foundation Medical Warehouse

Youth Impact

OWATC disc-golf setup

Emergency Bucket Preparation