Winter break: A few reminders

Winter break begins in just a few days, and that means campus will be quiet for the next couple of weeks. Iowa State will be partially closed for a 10-day period during the break, Dec. 23-Jan. 1. This period includes:

  • Three university holidays (Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1)
  • Five regular work days (Dec. 23, 26, 27, 30 and 31)
  • A weekend (Dec. 28-29)

Open or closed?

Winter break schedules

Employees who choose not to work Dec. 23-31 may use vacation time or take unpaid leave. The shutdown is optional; the university is not requiring departments to close. Units involved in critical services, maintenance and research will remain open. If you need to get into your building, bring your key or access card. University officials expect many ISU facilities will be closed and locked during the 10-day period, similar to holidays and weekends.

While the shutdown isn’t mandatory, university officials encourage employees to take some time off during this slow period. Plus, it saves the university money. Last year, Iowa State reduced its energy costs by about $63,000 during the partial shutdown.

Building supervisors should contact Bob Currie in facilities planning and management by 5 p.m. on Dec. 19 to indicate if a building will be closed or to request a temperature setback.

Remember these tips when you leave for winter break to keep your office energy-efficient and safe.

Turn off the lights and more

  • Shut down all computers, printers and other accessories. Leave your office computer on if you need remote access from home, but power off the monitor, printer, speakers, etc. A computer's sleep mode uses less energy than full power, but information technology services guidelines recommend shutting down computers completely to protect data. A machine may be left on during break if it's providing access to a critical application. If possible, plug computers and printers into a power strip and then shut off the power strip before you leave.
  • Turn off and unplug copiers
  • Shut off and unplug small appliances, like coffeepots and microwaves
  • Unplug chargers for electronic devices
  • Check faucets in bathrooms and break rooms to make sure they are completely turned off and not dripping. If you notice a dripping faucet, contact the FPM Service Center, 4-5100.
  • If you can manually adjust the thermostat in your office, turn it down to 65 degrees
  • Close fume hood sashes completely or open them only minimally
  • Shut down unnecessary climate-controlled plant growth chambers
  • Shut down cooling water systems to eliminate potential flooding issues
  • Remember to turn off your office lights and as much public lighting (hallways, bathrooms, conference rooms) as possible before you leave
  • Check windows to make sure they're tightly closed

Service still is key

If your department is closing over break, discuss how to handle incoming phone calls. One option is to direct all departmental calls to one voicemail box to be checked periodically by designated employees during the break. Employees also should change their personal voicemail and email messages. Consider stating the dates you will be absent, and if you'll be checking your voicemail or email messages. If necessary, include an off-campus number where you can be reached. Also consider posting holiday hours on your department's website.

Be prepared

FPM crews will work reduced hours during the partial shutdown. Snow removal will be limited from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, which means parking lots and secondary buildings may not be plowed by 8 a.m. FPM staff also will not plow lots or sweep sidewalks for less than 2 inches of snow outside of weekday business hours (Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.).