Association News

First Building Managers Institute hosted at Indiana University–Bloomington
January 2, 2017

Buildling Managers Institute at Indiana University-Bloomington

From Sept. 16–18, 2016, 27 individuals gathered at Indiana University–Bloomington’s Indiana Memorial Union for the first ACUI Building Managers Institute. Attendees included students from private and public institutions across the United States. Mara Dahlgren, host coordinator from Indiana University–Bloomington, commented: “The Indiana Memorial Union was thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Building Managers Institute. It was great to meet students from across the country and hear about their unique building manager experiences.”

Participants had the opportunity to make connections and learn in a group of peers with the commonality of being building managers at their respective student unions. Through the program evaluation, one participant said that the most valuable aspect of the institute was the opportunity to “make new friends and see ways other universities’ building managers operate.”

The three-day program included a trip to Indiana University–Purdue University–Indianapolis. This allowed participants to tour the spaces of both a more traditional union based in a college town as well as a more modern student center located in an urban setting. Participants reported that they saw the diversity in different unions as something they liked the most about the institute; as one individual said, “Hearing about the differences between my union and other unions, and touring IU and IUPUI made this an even better takeaway.”

Topics covered in the institute included interactive sessions on audio-visual technology, conflict management, customer service, and many others. Participants rated how their learning was enhanced by each educational session, and those on building inclusive environments, communicating skills on resumes, and emergency and risk management all rated in the 88.8 percentile.

The participants’ learning was put into practice through a case study component. This format allowed for participants to not only apply the institute’s content to situations that could occur in their unions, but also share ideas and best practices for maneuvering through difficult situations in emergency management, customer service, and peer conflict. Of evaluation respondents, 87.5% indicated this aspect of the program was beneficial to their learning.

Buildling Managers Institute at Indiana University-BloomingtonCase study teams also had to present their scenarios and solutions to a panel of judges. Among the judges, Dahlgren said she was impressed with the outcome of the case studies: “I got to witness their critical thinking and problem solving in action. They incorporated their previous experiences as well as the new information they learned to make really informed decisions.”

Rochelle Stills, a student building manager from the University of Georgia, spoke highly of her experience: “I absolutely loved attending the building manager conference through ACUI. I was able to learn from other building managers all around the country and educate myself on the best practices that I could bring back to my school. It also didn’t hurt that I made some new friends along the way!”

Overall, participants indicated that they gained greater perspective from the Building Managers Institute. As one person commented on the evaluation, “I believe understanding how other organizations operate leads to productive conversations that prevent us from taking things for granted or lead to improvement.”

ACUI is currently working to determine the programs locations and potential date for 2017. Please contact Educational Program Coordinator Kim Pho at with questions.

Building Manager Institute Planning Team
Mara Dahlgren, Indiana University–Bloomington (Host Coordinator)
David Timmann, West Chester University
Kris Day, University of Michigan–Dearborn
Alexis Parrill, University of Connecticut

Mark Adkins, Indiana State University
Amanda Bonilla, Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis
Burnel Coulon II, Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis
Matthew Cramer, Marian University
Brian Fetter, Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis
Joe Hayes, Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis
Valerie Heruska, Indiana University–Bloomington
Emily Reynolds, Indiana University–Bloomington
John Taylor, ACUI
Lincoln Walburn, Miami University
Linda Wardhammer, Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis


Kim Pho
Educational Programming Coordinator

About ACUI

Founded in 1914, ACUI serves those working in college unions and student activities on campuses worldwide. Its members include administrators, professional staff, student employees, student organization leaders, graduate students, and companies. 



For general inquiries about ACUI, please call 812.245.2284 or complete the online form below.