WHAT THE HECK DO YOU DO ALL DAY?
An occasional series about the people who work behind the scenes at Moravian College.

Who are you?
Sue O'Hare

What's your title?
Bursar

How long have you been working at Moravian?
For almost thirty years now. I started out as a temporary hire in the alumni office. I was working on a project there, and for some odd reason the development director at the time came down to the alumni office and said there was an opening in development. He knew me and he said, "Do you want the job?" I said, "Sure." So I started in development. Then I came to the bursar's office in 1986.

What the heck do you do all day?
I'm responsible for generating and maintaining all the charges assessed to students accounts. My cohorts are Dawn, Marlene, and Carla; we're responsible for all students, including day students, evening students, and graduate students. Everything from tuition and room and board, to fees associated with certain courses to parking fines, library fines, and health center charges. We're also responsible for the Perkins loan fund, which is a federal loan; we're responsible for the collection and maintenance of that. And then there are a lot of other little things that go on. We do a lot of detective work. Sometimes a check will come for a student, but the student's name isn't on it. Usually it's from somebody's grandparent. It takes a while, but we figure it out.

What's the secret to being able to do so much with such a small staff?
You have to be very well organized, and you have to be the type of person who pays attention to detail. You would not know it by looking at my desk, but I am very much like that. We have things down to a science. Fortunately we don't have to do it all by hand, we are computerized.

Computers must play a major role in your work.
When I started we were on a totally different system. We had these little screens on our desks. We did not have printers; everything was printed over in the hall of science, where the computer department was. Anything that you printed, you had to walk over there to get it. So you didn't really do a lot of printing. Eventually we got a printer in the business office upstairs on the third floor. And then we had a major computer change in 1999, when we went to the current system.

What's one thing you wish everybody knew about the bursar's office?

I think people don't realize where our information comes from. Our computer system pulls information from different areas of the college: the registrar's office, student affairs, the financial aid office...it all converges here and that's how our charges are generated. If something's entered incorrectly at, say, student affairs, it will be incorrect here. But unfortunately, we can't correct it here. And sometimes people get frustrated when you have to send them somewhere else.

What's the hardest part of your job?
Calling people to collect money. That is not an easy thing to do. A good day is when a lot of payments come in and I don't have to make any phone calls.

Know someone who'd be a good candidate for WTHDYDAD? Want to volunteer yourself? Send a message to rickc@moravian.edu.