Monday, June 24, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 149



OnCALL serves UH community 

By Mike Berezin
The Daily Cougar

The ability to find people, phone numbers, departments, events and directions in the UH community, and to assist other UH departments in their event planning, are only a phone call or mouse click away.

Established in September 1996 -- primarily as an external information line -- UH OnCALL has evolved into a comprehensive customer service initiative serving the external and internal UH community via telephone and the Internet.

"The immediate goal was to serve an external audience, but we found out that the internal community needed it just as much," said Susan Rosthal, director of the Office of University Marketing.

The service utilizes a database of more than 11,000 entries and maintains three full-time and two part-time customer service representatives, two of whom speak Spanish.

"We have a huge database of information available to the public, and if we get a request that we can't answer, we will seek out the information and put it in our database, and we will call the person back," said Pat Allenday, program director of OnCALL.

"Most calls are from people who are off-campus and interested in utilizing the campus in some way and from prospective students or their parents who want more information. During the busiest times -- usually the beginning or the end of a semester -- we get more than 1,000 calls a week," Allenday said.

The service also maintains the UH Master Calendar, Event Line, Speaker's Bureau and Community Resource Guide.

The Master Calendar lists both on-campus events, lectures and performances and off-campus UH-sponsored events for each month on the Web. It also has information on volunteer opportunities for UH students, faculty and staff.

The Event Line is an automated information line listing on-campus events in the following categories: academic calendar, arts and entertainment, lectures and conferences, meetings, sports, training and workshops and directions. The Event Line is updated twice a week and is available anytime at 713-743-9999.

"The Event Line is a way for people to access event information without the Internet or during the weekend when there is no one available to answer the phones," said Linda Lee, the customer service representative responsible for updating the Event Line.

The Speaker's Bureau is a free service that connects UH faculty and staff to organizations interested in having experts speak at their events, said Aisha Martin, program manager in the Office of University Marketing. Previous speakers have visited local secondary schools, corporations and nonprofit groups.

"The Speaker's Bureau is a way to expose the community to the faculty and staff at the University, and a resource for organizations who need qualified speakers," Martin said.

The Cougar Community Resource Guide is a database of public programs sponsored by different departments within the University along with contact information.

UH OnCALL and its services are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 713-743-2255, or at www.

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