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Grassroots Economics

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College acts on suggestions for cost-cutting

Over 350 members of the Dartmouth community have suggested ways that the College can reduce spending, and many of the ideas are being actively considered, says Adam Keller, executive vice president for Finance and Administration.

"The suggestions have contributed to a list of potential changes that cross departments and divisions," says Keller, who also chairs the 15-member Budget Committee. "We're in the process of prioritizing those ideas and developing a process for evaluating their potential for reducing costs or improving services."

Suggestions specific to a department have been shared with leaders of the area, says Keller, and the deans, vice presidents, and other leaders on campus have been asked to rank some of the ideas in terms of their value and feasibility. One suggestion-to provide incentive for early retirement-has already been approved and is underway. (Click here for more on the incentive.)

The Dartmouth community was asked to provide ideas last fall when the global economic crisis began to push down the value of the endowment. Dartmouth relies on the endowment to fund more than 35 percent of College-only expenses. The Board of Trustees will consider an administrative plan to reduce expenditures at its Feb. 6 through 7 meeting.

Suggestions range from the cross-institutional, such as "set a more conservative temperature in buildings" to the specialized, such as "eliminate the use of trays in dining halls." (Thus saving the washing and water expense.) Submission  categories are: Facilities; Human Resources/Compensation/Benefits; Miscellaneous and Communications; Program Size and Scope; Purchasing; Technology; Travel and Entertainment; and Waste Reduction.

The ideas can be viewed at the website, which is overseen by Lora Wise, executive assistant in Finance and Administration. The website also includes an archive of communications, a comment submission form, "Endowment 101," "Budget 101," and reports on the College's financial statements.

Thanking those who took the initiative to submit a comment, Keller stresses that the suggestions "have generated good ideas that we would not have uncovered."

By STEVEN J. SMITH

Click here to submit your cost-cutting ideas


Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 1/16/09