Michaela Woodward – Staff Writer
Even if you’ve never visited this Gustie of the Week’s office, housed in the basement of Olin, you’ve almost certainly benefited from the work they do on campus. Customer Support Specialist in Telecommunications, Nancy Roessler, is responsible for various duties on campus that range from answering the main phone line to putting together campus directories. Some consider her “the voice of Gustavus.”
“We’re a little bit of a catch all. And being that we’re down in the basement of Olin, we’re just kind of out of the way and people don’t know we’re down there,” Roessler said.
Having lived in Minnesota her whole life, Roessler was familiar with Gustavus because her high school used to host their basketball games and band performances here.
“It actually took me a few years to be able to walk into Björling Hall without my knees shaking,” Roessler said.
Before working in the Telecommunications office, Roessler received a degree in dental hygiene.
“I worked 31 years in the dental field. And then I worked another eight and a half years in the vision therapy field. I was married and my kids were young, and I was in Mankato working long hours and I went ‘this is just not working’. I applied to Gustavus a few times and got this job,” Roessler said.
Roessler enjoys being able to connect with a diverse group of people through her position.
“I think the best part of my job is being able to work with absolutely everybody on campus.”
“I work with everybody from facilities right down to first-year students to the community to nationwide. Answering the telephone and talking to people from absolutely everywhere is just a giggle a day. I never know who’s going to be on the phone. The people I speak with are really nice and they’re interested in Gustavus,” Roessler said.
Roessler’s responsibilities are wide and varied – and she always follows them through with a smile.
Telecommunications Office assistant Becky Barnes works closely with Roessler.
“She answers all the switchboard calls with an above pleasant voice and always knows where the caller should be directed, even if the caller doesn’t know. She goes above and beyond trying to help the caller get the answers the caller needs. She trains and supervises four work study students to handle the calls during her lunch hour, the evening switchboard hours and the weekend hours. She knows when the students are ready to handle the calls on their own and never makes them do anything that would make them feel uncomfortable. Her students all love her and they usually are with us for their 3 plus years at Gustavus, calling her their Telecom Mom.
“The job she does, that a lot of people would know about, is handling the vehicle checkouts for the college. She is responsible for keeping track of which vehicle is going where, when, and with how many. She makes sure they get the keys, gas cards if needed, and always finds a way to accommodate all requests. The faculty and athletics rely on her expertise all the time so that their requests for vehicles are met,” Barnes said.
One of the most surprising jobs Roessler has is coordinating Motor Pool.
“I do all the registering for online classes for certification for all the drivers on campus and manage the Motor Pool fleet with help from the facilities. Scheduling is a big part,” Roessler said. Additionally, Roessler is working with Kari Wallin to revamp the “Gusties on the Go” bicycle program so that students can reserve bikes.
During COVID last year, Roessler played a large role in organizing both case tracking and technology services.
“I was helping put cases from the campus onto a spreadsheet so that everybody else, caseworkers and people that were assigning housing and everything could manage from that,” Roessler said. She also worked with GTS to make sure there were enough video cameras and other devices.
That was not the first time the Telecommunications Office has withstood a disaster.
“I was told when the tornado came through in ’98, we were still housed in the basement of Olin as well, and everything was fine. For as hard as the College itself got hit, our communications system was good,” Roessler said.
While Roessler enjoys seeing campus projects and developments, she says that one of the most difficult parts of her job is seeing people leave.
“I enjoy getting up and coming to work. It’s a very wonderful place to work,” Roessler said.
After ten years in her position, one thing is for certain: every day brings something new to the voice of Gustavus and her indestructible office.