Adding Services Brings Respect to Ohio University In-plant
Ohio University has moved beyond printing. The additional services it provides have made it a more crucial part of the university.
By Bob Neubauer
Ohio University Printing and Graphic Services has been doing a lot more than just printing lately.
Thanks to several initiatives coordinated by Director David Kasler, the 15-employee in-plant is now handling laser engraving, heat transfer printing, fulfillment of university gift orders and—perhaps most unique of all—a program that creates handmade wooden gifts from fallen university trees.
"If all you're providing is printing and copying...I think your days are numbered," notes Kasler. "Because those are things that they feel they can buy outside just as easy."
These new services, he contends, not only give the in-plant a good reputation, they make it more crucial to the university, reducing the possibility it might be outsourced.
Of all the non-print services the in-plant provides, the "Arbor Gifts" program, Kasler says, is the most ambitious. The in-plant coordinates the removal, drying and storage of campus trees, then contracts with artisans to create a variety to wooden gifts, ranging from gift boxes and mantle clocks to wooden chests and rocking chairs.
University departments clamor for these items, particularly the University Advancement department, which uses them to thank trustees and major donors, who are pleased to get gifts made of university wood.
"We're giving them a part of campus," Kasler says.
The Arbor Gifts program has thus tied the in-plant directly to the university's financial situation.
The program got its start when an economics professor named Jan Palmer began photographing fallen trees on campus, then hiring craftspeople to make things from them.
"The problem was he had no way to promote the project, no way to market the gifts," Kasler says. The professor offered his idea to Kasler, who took it and ran.