Jim Hunt, formerly of the Division of Continuing Education, has been named communications manager for the Facilities and Campus Planning Division.
In his new post, Hunt is responsible for the planning, development and implementation of integrated communications and publications initiatives of broad significance to Facilities and Campus Planning.
According to Jim Cahill, the division’s director, the need for professional communications management was clear when UMass embarked on an unprecedented $540 million capital plan.
“We’re moving ahead with dozens of construction and renovation projects –everything from new undergraduate housing and utility upgrades to major renovations of some of our older buildings,” Cahill said. “This is great news for UMass Amherst, but we also want to do everything we can to minimize the disruption that construction sites inevitably cause and maximize the awareness of stakeholders on campus and in the community to our timetables and plans. The expertise that Jim Hunt brings to our division will allow us to communicate our mission and our progress much more effectively.”
Hunt has more than 15 years experience in marketing and communications management, most recently as coordinator of Communications and Public Relations at the Division of Continuing Education. He views his new position as an opportunity to do more than warn students and faculty of building closures or traffic detours.
“There is the practical necessity of getting accurate, timely information out to the people who need it most,” Hunt said. “But there is also a great story to be told here. This capital plan is really an inspirational story about growth, about pride of place, and about academic achievement. It is a story that can only do the university and the entire region good to hear.”
Students, faculty, administrators, support staff and townspeople might have occasion to be more aggravated than “inspired” by some of the new construction, but Hunt is determined to accentuate the positive.
“Having to walk 50 extra feet to your car for a few weeks or enter a different building entrance than you’re used to can certainly be inconvenient,” Hunt admits, “but I prefer to think of it as our contribution to the greater good. These are small sacrifices that will result in a brighter future for all of us, for the students, for the university. That’s the story I want people remember -- especially when they’re inconvenienced.”