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ACM Chicago Consortial Office “Hitting the Road”

ACM Chicago Consortial Office “Hitting the Road” April 1, 2011
ACM Chicago Consortial Office “Hitting the Road”

With an eye to the future and a commitment to sustainability, ACM is announcing a bold initiative to more effectively serve its member institutions.  As of today, the ACM Chicago consortial office will close its doors and the staff will take to the road in a state-of-the-art “office on wheels.”

“In an age of iPhones and Skype, the ACM office will become the ultimate mobile app,” said ACM President Christopher Welna. “We’re thinking outside the traditional bricks-and-mortar box to re-imagine the ACM office, making it a strong and nimble 24/7/365 presence on every ACM campus.”

“Whenever, wherever we’re needed, across the consortium, we can be there,” Welna trumpeted.

Sustainability and cost control have been driving forces behind the initiative, according to ACM Chief Financial Officer Doug Kolasinski.  The vehicle is 100% recycled, outfitted to use any type of fuel, and streamlined to reduce wind resistance on the open highway.  Plans have been drawn up to use consortial resources whenever possible.

“Plugging in” to the ACM campuses.

“For example, we can plug the vehicle into the wind turbines at Carleton and St. Olaf to recharge the batteries, fill up with ethanol when we’re in Iowa, and swing by Lawrence to stock up on vegetables from their campus garden,” Kolasinski explained.  “I’ve run the numbers on this project.  Even when you factor in the cost of commercial drivers’ licenses for the office staff, the ROI is off the charts.”

“We expect to receive a LEED-certified Platinum rating for our new office,” Welna added.  “Experts tell us we’ll have an ecological footprint the size of a toddler’s shoe.”

The vehicle was first used by the ACM during the 1960’s for a project to videotape students as they were training to become teachers, but has been stored in a barn in rural Wisconsin for the past several decades.  The idea to take it out of mothballs and back on the road arose during a staff retreat last fall.  Remarkably little renovation to the unit was necessary, and with a only few minor adjustments, the Fully Operational Office Location (FOOL) is now ready to hit the road.

“We’re moving toward the future in a vehicle that looks like it’s living in the past,” bragged Vice President John Ottenhoff, who spearheaded the effort to make the FOOL a reality.  “It’s the perfect nod to ACM’s 50-plus-year tradition of excellence in liberal arts education.  This is something that will rock – and expand – the world of academic consortia!”

The new ACM office will make its debut this weekend at the consortium’s conference on Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum at Luther College.  From there, the consortial staff will embark on an inaugural tour – dubbed “The FOOL’s Errand” – to visit all 14 ACM campuses within a fortnight.

The FOOL’s state-of-the-art Command Module 3000.

This new mobile office will allow the ACM unprecedented connectivity to its off-campus study programs around the world, as well.  Multiple TV monitors provide real-time video feeds to program sites worldwide, in stunning 6” black-and-white monochrome definition.

“Group visits to international program sites will be economically feasible for the first time in ACM’s history,” says Director of International Study Programs Carol Dickerman.  “Just a week or so in the storage compartment of a trans-oceanic freighter, and the entire office staff can find themselves docking in Costa Rica, India, or Tanzania.”

Such mobility will no doubt enhance the ACM’s image around the globe.  “The new office will be a rolling advertisement for ACM’s off-campus study programs,” said Scott Ozaroski, Director of Marketing and Recruiting.  “I think within a couple of years you’ll see the ACM FOOL become a beloved American icon, much like the Goodyear Blimp.  Or Betty White.”

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