grand building

A few years ago, FacilitiesNet Senior Editor Naomi Millàn wrote a piece advising facilities managers and their departments to embrace social media.
Her reasons were many:

  • Social media allow a facilities team to strengthen their organization’s relationships with customers.
  • Social media provide a communication channel between occupants/customers and the FM team.
  • Social media provide a platform for real-time communication during an emergency.

One type of organization in particular benefits from having facilities managers on social media — universities. Major universities can employ hundreds of facilities professionals, who are in charge of acres of spaces that hold thousands of people at a time.

Millàn cited Grand Valley State University’s facilities services department as a prime example of how to use social media. Unfortunately, the GVSU Facilities Services Facebook page no longer seems to be online.

However, we have found 16 other university facilities teams that are actively engaging students, faculty and community members through Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms.

Michigan State, Twitter: @MSUFacilities

MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities tweets out updates, alerts and even news about the school getting its buildings LEED-certified. The department has long embraced Twitter as an information outlet, tweeting since early 2009.

University of Arizona, Twitter: @uagrounds

The FM team in Tucson is 500-plus people strong, and the grounds crew is diligent about sharing the work it does on Twitter and also in visual form on Instagram. It’s worth pointing out how important their work is — the university is the oldest continually maintained green space in Arizona.

Arizona State, Twitter: @ASUfacilities

The rival Sun Devils have their own communicative, accessible Facilities and Development Management team, which tweets out daily alerts regarding utility shutdowns and other information about the school’s sustainability efforts.

Suffolk University Boston, Twitter: @FacilitiesSU

Suffolk University’s Director of Facilities Operations Jim Wallace personally handles his department’s Twitter account. His team had its work cut out for it this past spring semester, as Boston saw its worst winter in a generation:

A few members of Suffolk’s snow team taking a break at the 150 cafe— Jim Wallace (@FacilitiesSU) February 9, 2015

Rice University, Twitter: @FEPatRice

The 240-person facilities team at Rice University in Houston gives twice-monthly campus tours to show off completed projects, highlight its LEED-certified buildings and pull back the curtain a bit on how much work goes into maintaining billions of square feet of university space.

Auburn University, Twitter: @AU_Facilities

Auburn’s facilities team has been busy all summer: A number of parks and buildings are undergoing renovation, plans are underway to begin construction that will increase classroom space by 40%, and Jordan-Hare Stadium just saw college football’s largest video board installed.


Cleveland State University, Facebook: CSU.FAST

CSU’s Facilities and Safety Team will be celebrating the opening of a brand-new Center for Innovation in Medical Professions at the corner of Euclid and East 22nd when the fall semester begins. The building will introduce 100,000 square feet of facilities, which will house the CSU Health and Wellness Clinic and the CSU Speech and Hearing Clinic, among other things.

West Virginia University, Twitter: @WVUFacilities

WVU’s Facilities & Services Twitter feed is regularly updated with alerts, maintenance updates and photos of the team hard at work. Also, facilities professionals in and around Morgantown should keep an eye out — job opportunities get posted here, too.

CU-Boulder, Twitter: @CUBoulderFacMan

On the one hand, it’s a shame that so many CU students leave for the summer — Boulder looks incredible this time of year, judging from the photos the Facilities Management team is sharing. On the other hand, at least the FM has storage available for any students who don’t want to lug their couches home and back again in the fall.

University of Virginia, Twitter: @uvafm

The ongoing restoration of UVA’s famous rotunda remains a hot topic on campus, but the university’s FM team has an eye for details that might be even more valuable for building that relationship with the school’s community at large. Check out this post from last May’s graduation:

Trick to perfectly aligning thousands of chairs for Final Exercises: countless spools of string & patience! #UVagrad— UVA FM (@UVAFM) May 12, 2015

Washington & Lee University, Twitter: @wlufacilities

Take the Interstate west from Charlottesville, and you will soon run into Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The last school year was a busy time for the Facilities team: Work got underway to make room for the new Center for Global Learning plus new housing, and renovations began on the 148-year-old Lee Chapel.

Florida State University, Twitter: @fsufacilities

FSU’s 700-person facilities team works around the clock to maintain and manage the university’s 1600-acre campus, and this requires a direct line of communication so that team members can respond to requests quickly. The Twitter account is really just one of those direct lines — there are a few other avenues for making requests on the Facilities website.

Oregon State, Twitter: @OSUFacilities

OSU’s Facilities Services team does a great job of getting announcements and alerts out as quickly and as widely as possible. In addition to the Twitter feed, there are active Instagram and Facebook feeds, and updates get posted daily to the Facilities Services website, as well.

lecture hall

Morehead State, Twitter: @MSU_Facilities

Lots going on in Morehead, Kentucky, during the summer: Two student residences, a dining hall and volleyball court are all being built in addition to the normal maintenance required. Further updates and announcements can be found at the university’s website.

Western University (Canada), Twitter: @westernuFM

University of Western Ontario has set a goal of becoming a zero-waste campus by 2022, and current initiatives to meet that goal include coffee cup recycling (they calculate 12,000 disposable coffee cups are used daily on campus) and reducing the amount of road salt used in the winter.

Additionally, some accessibility projects are underway: Tactile walking surfaces are being installed to help visually impaired community members find the edge of campus walkways, and accessible pedestrian signals were installed at all crosswalks in 2013.

Edge Hill University (UK), Twitter: @fm_edgehilluni

The facilities team at Edge Hill University in West Lancashire comprises the school’s largest service team — there are about 300 members of the FM staff. In 2013 and 2014, the team took home a top industry award from the British Institute of Facilities Management for its work.

Congratulations to Edge Hill University, also, for being named the Times Higher Education University of the Year in November.


Nikolay Georgiev