Hurricane Harvey Dominates Discussions at TACUP Conference
The Texas Association of College and University Printers (TACUP) and Southwest Association of College and University Mailers (SWACUMS) held a successful joint conference in San Marcos, Texas, in October. Two unusual presentations this year focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The University of Houston Downtown was inundated with several feet of water and the department was relocated to three separate locations: an upper floor office, an air conditioned trailer and a hallway.
The discussion included suggestions for other in-plants that may face natural disasters:
- Keep a photo library showing the current condition of all equipment.
- Keep all passwords and links in a secure offsite location (as your IT rules allow).
- Document all damage as quickly and completely as possible as soon as it's discovered.
Possible problems to anticipate include the university downplaying the damage in press releases while staff is coping with absolute loss in their specific unit. For instance they may be required to wear masks in the affected area, but not be allowed to wear them when students could see them.
Another presentation dealt with the unexpected results from a simple social media post by the athletic department.
A University of Houston basketball coach tweeted a request to other coaches to send T-shirts and shoes for storm victims. The resulting deluge of donations created a massive storage problem at the university. The mail distribution unit was left working many hours of overtime to sort out these shipments from regular course of business deliveries. At the same time they were faced with delivering to offices with no elevators or surface access, and to departments that relocated but gave no notice as to their new location. All the while staff was dealing with personal instances of destroyed homes and vehicles.
Other presentations included a tutorial on paper by Clampitt Paper, a session on the value of in-plants, instructions on how to set your in-plant up as a distributor of promotional products and a wide-format printing class that saw participants actively asking questions and discussing effective methods to overcome common problems.
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