Archive | July, 2011

Meet the Staff: University Store Merchandise Buyer and Specialist Lori Frantz

When you step inside the University Store, it is impossible to not find something that catches your eye. From Towson University beach towels to a whole line of TU Under Armour clothing, the merchandise selection is always tempting. As Merchandise Buyer and Specialist at the University Store, it’s Lori Frantz’s job to make sure it stays that way.

Lori, who’s always had a keen interest in clothing, found herself a fitting position at Towson University in 1993 after leaving a job as Receiving Supervisor at JoS. A. Bank Clothiers. She started working as a general clerk in the University Store and loved the new atmosphere. Her love of the job showed in her work, and she steadily progressed from her contractual clerk position to a full-time gig in the Store’s general merchandise receiving area, to her current position, which she’s held for five years.

During her time in the store, Lori has born witness to the ever-changing trends of university students, from the flannel shirts popular in the 90s to the rain boots that are all the rage today. She’s even seen trends that were popular decades ago—like neon colors—come back into style. As a buyer, Lori tries to determine the longevity of these trends and stock them appropriately.

“There are always new colors or styles each season,” Lori said. “The trick is to try to get the most sales without getting caught when a style changes.”

Despite being student-oriented, the University Store has a range of customers—from the children of alumni to current students, parents, faculty and staff—and Lori tries to stock the store with a wide variety of merchandise to fit every buyer, and their associated price range. She purchases everything from giftware like mugs, key chains, bags and car decals to TU clothing and footwear, to school and office supplies; almost everything except for food and textbooks. The items chosen are selected based on a range of criteria.

“I choose items for the store in many ways: for specific needs of professors or departments, products that have a specific purpose, products that are fun and exciting, products that are new on the market, etc.” she said. “My focus is on the current market. I look not only at good quality and functional merchandise, but also the popular trends that appeal to or are requested by students and faculty/staff.”

To find the latest trends, Lori attends college trade shows, checks out various stores, websites and magazines, and observes students and individuals of all ages on and off campus. Vendors are constantly presenting her with new samples, catalogs and opinions too.

“I look for repeated styles, colors and designs. The more you see something, the better likelihood that it will sell,” Lori said. “Sometimes it is just a guessing game too, but that’s the risk you have to take in sales.”

Last year, Lori and her coworkers managed that risk expertly. Out of 64,000 pieces of clothing, 62,000—or almost 97%—sold.

“As you can imagine, my job is very time-consuming,” Lori said. “But I get to meet a wide array of people and see so many new and interesting products. Seeing the satisfaction of the customers that walk out of our store with something they love makes it all worthwhile.”

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Tip of the Month: Creating Contact Groups in Outlook 2010

A contact group is a group of individual contacts saved together under a single name (these were called distribution lists in Outlook 2007). Creating contact groups is a convenient way to save time if you e-mail groups of people over and over again. Follow the steps below to create a contact group:

  1. Click Contacts in the Navigation Pane, located on the left side of the screen.
  2. Click New Contact Group in the home tab.
  3. Click beside the Name box and type a name for your group contact.
  4. Select the Add Members button.
  5. Select From Address Book in the dropdown menu. The Select Members: Global Address List dialog box will appear.
  6. In the box under Search, begin to type the last name of the first member you would like to add to the contract group. As you type, Outlook will begin to match the characters in the global address list.
  7. When the correct name is in view, click on that name to select it.
  8. Click the Members button at the bottom left of the dialog box to add the name to the contact group (you may also double-click the name you want to add). Continue to search for and add members to the contact group in this way.
  9. When you have finished adding all the names, click OK.  You will return to the Contact Group dialog box. Click Save & Close in the upper left-hand corner of the box.

Using the Contact Group

There are two ways to address a new e-mail message using your contact group. One is from the inbox and the other is from contacts.

Using a Contact Group from the inbox folder:

  1. Click Mail in the navigation pane on the left side of the screen.
  2. Click the New E-Mail button to create a new email message.
  3. Click the To button. The select names dialog box will open.
  4. Under Address Book, select Contacts from the dropdown list.
  5. Select the name of your contact group and click the To button at the bottom of the dialog box.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Type your message and send it.

Using a Contact Group from the contacts folder:

  1. Click Contacts in the navigation pane on the left side of the screen.
  2. Right click on your contact group.
  3. Select Create.
  4. Select E-mail.
  5. Type your message and send it.

For more tips and training from the Office of Technology Services, go to

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Residence Hall Furniture Gets New Life at Local Non-Profits

One person’s trash is another’s treasure. This summer, Towson University donated more than 126 tons of furniture to local colleges, universities and non-profit organizations. The donations include furniture from the rooms and study lounges in Newell and Richmond Halls, which are being emptied this summer as part of a major renovation project. The project includes the restoration of the building’s interiors, exteriors and electrical systems, including new furniture to replace the nearly 15-year-old beds, desks and chairs currently in the building.

Despite their age, the beds are in decent shape, and disposing of them through recycling or the landfill would be both costly and bad for the environment. Thus, the university continued in its tradition of reuse (which began with the Glen Towers beds in 2009) by seeking out other local institutions in need of the furniture. The five local colleges, universities and non-profit agencies listed below responded to the call for recipients, and came to campus earlier this summer to transport the furniture back to their campuses for use.

  • Habitat for Humanity- 13 tons of Brunswick pool tables, micro-fridge units and bookcases
  • Trinity College- 13 tons of micro-fridge units and study/lounge furniture
  • Wesley College-79 tons of student dorm room furniture
  • Neumann University- 15 tons of student dorm room furniture
  • Achiever’s Inc.- 1 ton of student dorm room furniture

The cycle of reuse benefits both TU and the receiving institutions: we save hauling costs and landfill tipping fees, and they gain much-needed furniture for their students and projects. According to Sustainability Director Jack Nye, the project is a great way for Towson to be both sustainable and generous.

“Reuse is the highest form of conservation and generally the least expensive since it requires less energy compared to recycling,” Jack said. “It was a great way to help out local institutions and to promote sustainability simultaneously.”

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A Peek Inside the West Village Commons

When the West Village Commons opens this August, it will boast eateries and event spaces that will make it a hub of activity for students, faculty and staff alike. As the West Village “mini Union” gets its final touch-ups before the grand opening, take a sneak peek below at the inside of the building that we’ll all soon know well.

The inside of West Village Commons.
When you walk into the building, you’re greeted with a grand staircase leading to the second level, as well as an information desk on the right.

One of the a la carte eateries in the West Village Commons.
On your left is three a-la-carte eateries, including Jamba Juice, Einstein’s Bagels and Coyote Jack’s Grille.

The all-you-can-eat dining hall in the Commons.
The second level is an all-you-can-eat eatery with an open floor plan that allows you to look out at activity on the first floor.

The third floor of the Commons.
Large conference rooms comprise the building’s third level, which also includes a spacious lobby providing space for cocktail hours or catering stations.

A view out from the third floor of the Commons.
The lobby boasts a great view of the ever-expanding West Village precinct of campus.

For more information on campus construction, go to
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Calling all article ideas!

Got an idea for the blog? Send it to us and be entered for a chance to win a $30 gift certificate to the University Store! E-mail your story ideas to or leave it in the comments section of this post anytime between now and 9 a.m. Friday, July 29 to be entered in the drawing.

The winner will be chosen at random and announced in the blog July 29. To be entered in the contest, your story suggestion must be usable and cannot be one that’s already been featured in the blog. You must also include your full name and department in the comment or e-mail to win.

To leave a comment, click on the blue “Comments” link at the bottom of this post, complete the electronic form, then click on “Submit Comment.”

We’re excited to hear from you – your suggestion may appear in an upcoming edition of the blog!

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Sneak Peek at the Campus Gateway

Construction on the campus gateway is moving quickly throughout the summer. Here’s a look at how things are progressing for the new main entrance to campus.

A look at the new gates which will flank the gateway to University Avenue (near Burdick Hall). Brickwork is expected to be complete in the coming weeks.

A look at the graded area in the former location of lot 9. The area is being leveled to accommodate the new entrance and make University Avenue more hospitable for pedestrian and vehicle travel.

 A rendering of how the gateway will look when it is complete in early 2012.

For more information on campus construction, go to

*Photos by Kelsey Roman
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Personnel Announcement

Wondering what’s going on in the lives of your colleagues? Check out the information below to find out. If you’d like to contribute an item to the personnel announcement, e-mail We’re always looking for items to add, so don’t be shy! 

July Birthdays

All birthdays listed are based on the contributions of divisional staff. If you would like to have a birthday added to or removed from the list, please e-mail

July 1 – Dave Taylor, Facilities Management

July 2 – Tim Sandruck, Facilities Management

July 3 – Tammy Weichseldorfer, OTS

July 4 – Debra Boettcher, Facilities Management

July 4 – William Stafford, Facilities Management

July 5 – Matt Rising, OTS

July 7 – Phillip George, Facilities Management

July 7 – Lana Rybalnik, OTS

July 7 – Alison Armstrong, Auxiliary Services

July 9 – Barbara Hufnagel, Fiscal Planning and Services

July 9 – Shelly Sievers, Fiscal Planning and Services

July 9 – Jim Williamson, Fiscal Planning and Services

July 10 – William Briley, Auxiliary Services

July 10 – John De Armey, Facilities Management

July 11 – Mike Medairy, Facilities Management

July 11 – Michael Roddy, TUPD

July 13 – Lou Chaney, Facilities Management

July 13 – Joanne Kist, Fiscal Planning and Services

July 13 – Lisa Schmith, Human Resources

July 15 – Cynthia Andrews, Human Resources

July 15 – Mike Noll, Human Resources

July 15 – Hassan Sanda, Auxiliary Services

July 16 – Rance Burger, Facilities Management

July 17 – Tom Wentz, Facilities Management

July 18 – Christopher Betts, Facilities Management

July 18 – Valerie Panuska, Auxiliary Services

July 19 – Michele Kreider, Fiscal Planning and Services

July 19 – Lorraine Ziara-Denmark, Fiscal Planning and Services

July 20 – John Harris, Facilities Management

July 21 – Dave Socha, Facilities Management

July 24 – Verna Green, Auxiliary Services

July 27- Tobi Bennet, Facilities Management

July 28 – Ronald Peacock, Facilities Management

July 29 – Jen Streb, Financial Services

July 30 – Charlie Rummings, OTS

News and Announcements

Aramark’s contract with the university ended Thursday, June 30, and janitorial services are now being provided by ABM. No gaps in services are anticipated, but if you any housekeeping needs during the transition between the two vendors, please contact housekeeping directly at x4-3396.

Honors, Awards and Presentations

Cpl. George Morgan received his retirement badge plaque from the TUPD on Friday, June 3. The badge was presented to George by TUPD Sergeant Frank Remesch. It is a law enforcement tradition that an officer’s supervisor presents the officer with a badge upon retirement. Congratulations, George!

Jean Comer, Executive Administrative Assistant for the Office of Public Safety, graduated from the administrative cohort of the Building Bridges program earlier this spring. She received her certificate of completion at a ceremony at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Congratulations, Jean!

Joe Oster, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services, and Pam Mooney, Director of Parking & Transportation Services, gave a presentation titled “Parking 101″ at the National Association for College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) East Conference in Annapolis this June. The presentation reviewed the current status of the parking industry, leading into a discussion on the virtual parking concept being introduced on campus this fall. The presentation was well-attended and very well-received.

Joe Oster and Ralph Valle, Marketing Director for Auxiliary Services, also gave a presentation at the NACAS East Conference on marketing the multi-million dollar area of college auxiliary services. The program focused on the need to balance your marketing strategy in today’s marketplace using a variety of social, print and direct marketing approaches in order to connect with customers and compete in business today.

Births and Deaths

Executive Administrative Assistant Bernadette Reed just became a fourth-time grandmother! Her daughter gave birth to a healthy baby boy earlier this week.

Susan Bracken Trumbull, passed away Saturday, June 25. Susan is the sister of OTS Executive Administrative Assistant Joanne Bracken. Susan is survived by a daughter. Our condolences go out to Joanne and her family.


Retirements and New Hires

Mail Sorting & Processing Supervisor Deborah Bowdoin will retire July 1, 2011. Best wishes, Deborah!

Jimmy Duffy was hired as the new Director of Access Control in the Office of Public Safety. Jimmy’s first day was June 21. Welcome aboard!

Longtime A&F student assistant Alfiya Galieva, who worked for Management Advisory & Compliance Services and the NRA Tax Office, has left the university. Best wishes to Alfiya!

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