Our guest today is Sergey Yessenov, General Director of University Service Management Private Institution. He told us about the work of USM PI and its contribution to the development of the University, as well as shared information about plans and upcoming projects.
Could you tell us about the main activities of USM? What is important to focus on when organizing work on campus?
The University Service Management Private Institution was established in August 2010 as a subsidiary of Nazarbayev University. The organization’s main purpose is to provide service for the administrative and economic activities of the University and its organizations. In addition, since 2014, USM has provided several services to the university-affiliated medical clinics. The scope of work includes providing engineering and technical services, infrastructure maintenance, and effective management of medical organizations’ premises.
In general, our work is to manage the infrastructure of the academic, scientific, administrative, and medical complexes of the University, ensuring the functioning of the university’s most vital systems. To do this, we work closely with technical services. Our joint work allows us to create a favorable atmosphere for the development of scientific and academic activities of the University, comfortable work of employees, students, and teaching fellows of the University and its organizations.
We monitor the proper operation of all buildings’ vital systems, ensure that the premises are clean and orderly throughout the university campus and affiliated territories, and respond to all reported problems and system malfunctions. USM seeks to ensure timely, professional, and high-quality service. To help meet this goal, the USM Service Desk was created. The USM Service Desk accepts dozens of requests daily, and operators monitor the successful completion of request tickets. Operators also follow-up with clients about any lingering or newly emerging issues.
In addition, we are responsible for organizing the workplace of employees, and maintaining the living space for staff and students on campus. We provide everything campus needs for people to work, go to classes, and attend other events. USM not only creates comfortable living conditions for our campus residents but also provides security, transportation, and translation services.
We also manage the University’s service infrastructure. We approve vendors and rent commercial spaces on campus to provide a variety of services for our community. For example, there are shops, cafes, canteens, coffee shops, pharmacies, beauty salons, laundries, a sports center, a gym, a nursery, and workshops on the campus.
Is attention paid to the use of “green” technologies, environmentally friendly materials and products when working on campus?
From its creation, Nazarbayev University has prioritized the development of “green” technologies. Therefore, we pay special attention to this in our work.
As part of the implementation of the “Green Campus” framework, since 2016, work has been carried out to separate streams of recyclable waste from general waste. Currently, the campus separates and collects waste paper, plastic, glass, and batteries on the territory of Nazarbayev University and clinics of CF “UMC”. In 2019 alone, the NU community collected more than 14.5 tons of wastepaper, 1.3 tons of plastic, 1 ton of glass, as well as more than 4.5 thousand batteries for recycling. At the same time, all funds received from the implementation of the separate waste collection are transferred to the “Green Campus Office” and subsequently used for the needs of greening the campus and other “green” initiatives of the University.
The campus area is lit by led mercury-free lamps, which we then hand over to recycling companies after an operation. To save energy, motion sensors are installed throughout campus. To regulate street lighting, an automatic timer is used to turn lights on at sunset and off at sunrise.
USM pays great attention to landscaping and improvement of the University’s territory. Every year new trees are planted, and every day we carefully take care of existing plantings. Today, the campus has an orchard – apple, pear, rosehip, hawthorn, and rowan.
Since 2017, we have switched USM boilers to natural gas, which significantly reduces emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere. In the future, we plan to connect to the unified gasification and heat supply system of the city.
Tell us about the most important achievements of USM PI over the past 10 years.
Over the past 10 years, the area served by USM has increased six-fold due to the University’s expansion and growth.
Along with the volume of work, customer satisfaction with our service is also growing. USM PI strives to have open and frequent communication with its clients. USM not only launches regular customer feedback surveys but also takes an active part in the work of the Campus Life Committee. In 2020, 93% of survey respondents were satisfied with the work of the USM PI.
How is NU campus maintenance organized during a pandemic?
The pandemic and its related quarantine measures have not stopped life on campus. More than 1,000 people still live here – teaching fellows with families, students, and doctoral students. To ensure the safety of the campus residents we have taken several measures. We have strengthened access-control to campus, installed antiseptic hand sanitizer stations and infrared contactless scanning thermometers. We have put up public health memos and posters in elevators and hallways, we also regularly send out important information via email, we conduct preventive conversations. Finally, we frequently disinfect and clean the territory.
We provide our employees with personal protective equipment and monitor their health status every day.
Realizing the need for campus residents to relax and walk in the fresh air, we have established a summer tent near the pyramid of the campus. The tent is equipped with Wi-Fi and tables. Now parents can work outside the house, watching their children play on the playground. Near the summer tent, there is also a barbecue area that residents can book online.
Could you tell us about the most significant upcoming projects and plans of USM PI?
In addition to working on infrastructure development and maintenance of facilities, we plan to improve the management structure, develop human potential and communications, expand the market share of services, develop profitable activities, and improve the positive image of the organization.
If we talk about specific projects, soon we want to create a “Situational Center”. We already have a dispatching center equipped with modern equipment that provides effective control of all life support and security systems of the University (e.g., elevators, fire alarms, access control system, video surveillance systems, building management systems). In the proposed Situational Center, we want to organize a NU Call Center, which will promptly receive calls and respond to them, for example, in emergencies, when it is necessary to provide emergency medical assistance, and safety issues.
We are also working on improving inventory processes using RFID technologies.
In addition, we are currently working on a “Smart Parking” project to regulate the use of Parking spaces at the University.
In the future, USM PI plans to be one of the top-rated large service-oriented companies in Kazakhstan.