If you think back-to-school shopping is tough for your family, consider what serious shopping it takes before the campus staff throws open the doors and welcomes students back to campus.
Cindy Tate, who is in charge of ordering supplies for all the residence halls on the east side of campus, says students bring most of what they need with them, but it’s still up to her to make sure one necessity is readily available.
“I order 45 cases of toilet paper to start the semester, and we’ll be lucky if that lasts two months,” said Tate.
Those 45 cases translate into more than 20 miles of toilet paper that will be gone by fall break.
Tate also says the rooms stay as bright as the students with the 30 cases of light bulbs, totaling about 900 bulbs, she orders in the fall.
Students also have to eat, and keeping up with that demand creates some interesting statistics. Food Services Marketing Director Tom Lapp and Chartwells turn the idea of a simple picnic into a production with “Picnic Paradise,” a series of six picnics during the week of welcome. At Picnic Paradise, almost 5,800 people will consume an amazing amount of food.
Before they reach the second week of school, new freshmen alone will have consumed 600 pounds of barbeque, 178 pounds of chips, 7,900 cans of soda, 2,450 packets of mayonnaise, 10 gallons of ranch dressing and 275 pounds of cut fruit.
In addition to the picnics, the regular meals served in the RUC Marketplace and Swoops mean 11 managers overseeing 3,500 labor hours will stay busy.
“We will serve an estimated 24,000 guests in the first week alone,” said Lapp. “That’s just shy of feeding the entire population of Cookeville. All told, the first week of dining-plan guests will consume more than $50,000 in groceries.”
Another number that gets pumped up during the first week of fall semester is the number of parking tickets issued. Campus Police Chief Gay Shepherd says students don’t pay a lot of attention to the parking maps and rules during their first few weeks.
An average of 3,000 parking tickets will be written in September. That’s 150 tickets a day, five days a week, about 50 more than during the average day on campus. Throughout the year, parking violators will donate about $250,000 in parking fines to the university.
Once they settle in, every student needs a mailbox and a phone, so the university is prepared by keeping about 10,000 student post office boxes available and 3,700 phone numbers assigned around campus.
It all adds up to one great semester when the students start focusing on actual studying. Even with the amount of information on the Internet, Tech students check out more than 17,700 books each semester from the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library and Media Center.