The Ohio State University is big.
More than 64,000 students, if you’re counting all campuses. And nearly 42,000 employees.
As is the case with any organization of its size, The Ohio State University can be a maddening, frustrating place. Trying to get answers — or even just finding the person to whom the questions should be asked — can feel like an impossible chore.
What we encountered in 2010 and 2011 as we tried to figure out where we were parking for the season is a good example. Call one person, get one answer. Hear another answer from a different office. Get a third answer from one of the people working the lot.
But sometimes, it pays to ask.
I have two examples. During the first game, I was dismayed to hear that the OSUMB’s spot in the South Stands had been mic’ed, and was being played over the stadium’s shiny new PA system. In some parts of the stadium, it sounded fine; in 14C, the delay made it sound awful. We heard everything twice, and it pretty much made the music unbearable to listen to.
Last week, I sent an email to a whole bunch of people: Gordon Gee, Gene Smith, the folks who manage game day operations in the stadium, the band’s director. I griped about the amplification and asked for something to change.
It took Jon Waters, the interim director of the Ohio State University Marching Band, to answer. He said amplification of the band had been a goal of his and Gene Smith’s coming into the season, but added right off the bat that he was aware there were some problems on Week One. He also made a good point — there is no real way to test the sound without a stadium full of people, so it might take some time to work out the issues.
Because he took a couple minutes to respond, I felt better about the problem. And, true to his word, the sound was much better last week.
I have another example.
As I said last week, our new parking spot is pretty much perfect. Close to the stadium, shade or sun to suit the weather, easy parking for everyone else and plenty of, uh, facilities nearby.
My father, who has a legitimate reason to hold a disabled parking hang-tag, made a good point, though; for him, it took a decent walk –and for him, an uncomfortable one — to get to the nearest porta-john or to the indoor plumbing in the library. And, he reasoned, wouldn’t it make sense to have a porta-john available to patrons who are parking in handicapped lot.
Late in the week, Crappydad asked Ethel, who works for the university, for help in figuring out who should field a question about getting our own porta-potty. Ethel came through, and after a quick exchange of emails, we had been promised that a porta-john would be waiting for us Saturday morning (and it was actually in place on Friday night, as the Coochie Doctor confirmed during a quick trip through campus).
And there you are, boys and girls. Ethel, my father, and the one thing we were lacking to be able to call our new tailgating home truly perfect. We call him John.
And when you’re faced with the daunting task of figuring out how to approach a gigantic organization, remember this: It never hurts to just ask.