Invisible Servants

The Ops Team serves Cedarville behind the scenes

by Zach Krauss

Cedarville University’s Student Life Programs owes their many successful events to the behind-the-scenes, student-led group of workers known as the Ops Team.

Ops stands for operations, and heading up operations is exactly what this team does. The team is made up of eight student workers, two of whom act as executive officers. These executive officers help their leader, Brian Burns, director of Campus Experience, sort work orders and make sure the whole team knows what they need to be doing during a given week.

The Ops team serves as a behind-the-scenes crew of efficient setup and tear down workers who also specialize at audio, video, and technology tasks. Members of the team also often stay during events in order to make sure someone is there who can help in case something goes wrong.

Ops oversees many of the events on campus that SLP sponsors, as well as events that Event Services sets up. Groups like Career Services are also able to ask for the team’s help.

Ops works along with Student Center Activities Board to make events happen. SCAB works with the planning of actual events, helping to figure out what will be needed at an event and how to make the event fulfill its purpose. Ops comes in after plans have been made in order to grab supplies and necessary setup to put things together and decorate.

The whole team meets for a few hours each week to plan what needs to be done. Once a plan has been made for a week, the team begins to start setting things up in advance so they only need to make finishing touches on the night of the event.

As a part of Campus Experience, the Ops Team is responsible for events like Getting Started week in August, which ushers in new students for each new school year, and CULead in January, which is a campus-wide event required for students who plan on being involved in leadership or student government. Ops is also in charge of the setup for each of the four Alt Nights that students are able to enjoy twice a semester which typically include a movie, food and beverages, and student activities.

Ops is pivotal in the setup and tear down of Campus Christmas, a yearly event in which the beginning is marked by the decoration of the entire Stevens Student Center. This year’s decorations for Campus Christmas included more than 3,000 pingpong balls that hung from the ceiling of the upper Stevens Student Center to simulate snow, as well as dozens of trees and full-size presents. The Ops Team headed up that setup, as well as the setup of the stage in the dining hall to be used later in the month for Christmas karaoke.

The team comes back along with much of the rest of Student Life before Getting Started weekend in order to begin their training. After undergoing the foundations portion of training that all Student Life partakes in, Burns helps the team learn the specific skills for the job they will have to implement during Getting Started weekend.

Burns said Getting Started weekend functions as one of the first hands-on learning experiences for the Ops Team with the team helping with setup as well as audio for the first weekend that students are allowed on campus. Burns said the team is always fortunate enough to have at least one or two returning students to help to pass along knowledge and help figure out exactly how everything will work out for a given year.

Kaleb Irey, a junior math major on the Ops Team, says his favorite thing about his position is being able to see all the of the reactions of people when they see what’s been done.

“I’m a tour guide as well, and just the other day my partner was able to explain to some students about Campus Christmas,” Irey said. “I got to see without bragging how people like the work we do, and that’s something I really enjoy.”

Irey also says the job has taught him time management. Sometimes, because of the nature of the job, something might need to get set up earlier than expected, or someone else is needed in order to efficiently solve a problem. This means that the students need to be able to look ahead so that they can complete all of their tasks even if issues come up.

Because of Burns’ love for attention to detail, Irey said he’s also learned to make sure to check his work twice so that everything turns out well. Whether putting away wires or setting up the angle of a light, Irey said things need to look perfect.

“Brian has taught us to be able to step back from anything that we’ve done and be able to smile at it,” Irey said. “He always wants us to do what it takes in order to make things look great, not just good.”

Burns said one of the biggest things is he never wants Ops to seem like the hired hands. He wants the student body to understand how crucial the Ops team is to the rest of Student Life.

“If we didn’t have the Ops Team, we literally wouldn’t have any events on campus,” Burns said. “There’s no way anything would be set up by each individual group hosting an event, and Ops is the solution.”

Burns said, in a lot of ways, the Ops Team makes the experience portion of Campus Experience possible. He said it’s important to understand that for every student event on campus, there are dozens of hours put in before and after the event in order to make things work out.

Eddie Hurtell is a sophomore biblical studies major who serves on the Ops Team. He said one of the coolest parts of Ops is how close they become as a team. The Ops Team works closely with Dan MacDougall,  the assistant director of Student Life Programs, as well as with Burns, and they get to experience more with and learn more about those two men than many of the rest of the student body.

MacDougall said that he has appreciated working with such a committed team. He described Ops as the “backbone” of the Student Life Programs.

“Whether it be a student activity or a guest event setup, the Ops Team is there ready to help,” MacDougall said. “There are always students from Ops willing to put in hours late at night or early in the morning to make things work out.”

Zach Krauss is a junior pharmacy/music double major from central Texas and campus reporter for Cedars. He loves music, theatre, biology, community, and meeting new people.

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