Director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services Spearheads Transportation, Bookstore, Laundry Services

Manny Cunard, director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services, works from his new office on Pine Street.
Posted 09/09/05

When Manny Cunard came to Wesleyan two and a half years ago, several services were in need of structure. Others needed to be invented.

“I resolve problems,” says Cunard, director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services. “That’s what this job is all about. You have to be committed to problem solving to provide the best services for Wesleyan’s students, staff and faculty.”

Cunard is responsible for such operations such as the campus bookstore, dining services, the House Sale Program, laundry services, graduate student housing, transportation services and student residence revenue management. He also oversees campus services such as the Rental Properties Program, Wesleyan Station and mail services, the Memorial Chapel, Russell House and ’92 Theater and non-academic scheduling and reservations.

When Cunard came onboard, one of his first initiatives was to re-cast the campus bookstore.

“There was a local book store, but it wasn’t meeting the needs of Wesleyan’s students and faculty,” he explains. “The new Broad Street Books services Wesleyan, it supports its academic needs, and Wesleyan sees some revenue from it.”

The new bookstore also sells used books to students at a reduced cost.

Cunard also initiated the One-Card Access Program. It allows students to use their Wesleyan ID card to gain entry to dormitories or the gym, or pay for laundry, photocopies, campus meals. Faculty and staff also have the option of putting funds into their One-Card account for use at campus dining halls, vending machines.

Wesleyan ID cards are also equipped with an encoded stripe that allows students, staff and faculty to use The Middletown Cash Program at 17 participating off-campus venues.

“We’ve seen a tremendous response from the One-Card Program,” Cunard says. “Now students and staff have the option to break away from the routine and go have a good meal downtown or use a variety a services using a single card.”

Cunard also help improved Transportation Services for the campus. A shuttle runs between 7 and 4 p.m. seven days a week around campus and makes loops downtown Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Marcello Curridori, manager of Transportation Services, says Cunard always treats his staff with respect.

“Manny has a positive attitude and down to earth personality which motivates staff to do a great job everyday,” Curridori says. “Not only that, he’s very knowledgeable and reliable. We can always count on him to answer any questions we might have.”

Cunard has his hands full of projects this semester. He’s working on the Dining Services master planning, a new design for the bookstore, a student driver policy, a senior prototype house project and planning auxiliary services’ role in the new Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center. He’s also placing new laundry and vending machines on various sites on campus.

To get these tasks done, he meets daily with managers of each auxiliary service or campus service and discusses issues and university priorities. In addition, he seeks input from students, student groups and parents. He responds to concerns about student services and costs of those services.

“Faculty members will ask for more vending machines, and parents call with food service questions,” he says. “I deal with stuff like this all the time.”

Cunard, who holds degrees in zoology, chemistry, counseling psychology and higher education, spent 12 years working at Loyola University; nine years at Colorado State and eight years at the University of Virginia. During those stints he managed housing programs, student life and activities, bookstores, retail issues and other auxiliary services.

Three years ago, the Rhode Island native applied for the newly-created director of Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services position at Wesleyan.

“Along with the challenges of the job, being part of a small, New England university seemed like a perfect next step in my already exciting career,” he says.

At Wesleyan, Cunard is part of several campus committees that meet to discuss ways to better services on campus. These include the Dining Services Advisory Committee, the Bookstore Advisory Committee, the Campus Auxiliaries and Facilities Advisory Committee, the Graduate Student Housing Advisory Committee and the Scheduling and Events Committee.

Through these committees, Cunard has the opportunity to meet with students and staff from other departments. They discuss issues such as student living conditions and housing needs, meal choices, book prices and bookstore services, campus events and other services.

Cunard helps Wesleyan staff and faculty find places to live through the Rental Properties Program and House Sales Program. He also contributes to creating living space for local residents. As a Middlesex Habitat for Humanity board member and site supervisor, Cunard devotes much of his free time helping to build homes with other Habitat members. He also spends time with his wife of 36 years, Donna, his grown daughters Sarah and Elisabeth, and his 10-month-old granddaughter, Brianna.

In whatever time is left, Cunard enjoys restoring foreign cars. In the past-three years, he’s refinished a Triumph TR6 and Jaguar XKE, as well as an MGB for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Currently he’s half-way finished with an Austin Healey 3000.

“I put them in shows, or drive them to work or around town. They’re just my passion,” he says.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor