Campus Closeup: Julie Djupe
When Julie Djupe (joop) wants to exercise, she doesn’t have to brave the outdoor elements or drive to a gym. She simply walks to the end of the hallway. Proximity is one of the perks of her job as principal secretary in the PEIF Recreational Sports office. The prime location could backfire for some. After all, being so close to top-notch facilities makes it harder to come up with a feasible excuse not to work out. But that isn’t a factor for Djupe—at least most of the time.
“I’m at a point in my life where I actually look forward to exercising,” she said. “I try to get it in over my lunch hour so I don’t have to stay after because there are some days I just want to get right home after work. It’s’ really nice to have everything here and not have to worry about going outside in the winter.”
A Calumet native, Djupe is in her seventh year at NMU. She previously spent 20 years at a certain other university in the Keweenaw Peninsula, first as a secretary in Athletics and then in Human Resources. She had worked up to a lower management position before marrying a Marquette man. Djupe relocated and started over professionally.
At NMU, she spends much of her time managing recreation memberships for students, employees and community members. All 5,000 or so of them—even those completed online or sent via email—have to be printed out and manually entered into the system by Djupe and a part-time student. She also deals with special programming that includes CPR and swim classes, Outdoor Recreation Center activities, fee-based fitness classes that fall outside the drop-in variety, summer sport camps and the Wildcat Kids Camp, which she said is becoming increasingly popular.
Djupe is responsible for making deposits for the entire building. This includes collecting core cash from the information center, memberships and programming, manually entering checks and processing credit card slips. She has also helped out with some tasks related to the U.S. Olympic Education Center since her supervisor, Brian Gaudreau, directs both the USOEC and the Rec Sports office. Djupe said Gaudreau encourages Rec Sports to raise its profile by having a presence at NMU events, so duty sometimes calls in the evening and on weekends.
“My favorite part of my job is customer service. It sounds cliché, but it’s really important to me. It’s frustrating to me when I go somewhere and the service isn’t good. I enjoy having conversations with community members. I know their stories and when it’s okay to joke around or delve deeper. People like to know that you’re interested and that you care.
“I also like working with the students employed by Rec Sports. Some start out shy, but we develop good relationships. Some call me their NMU mom and I’ll get cards that say that. I got really close to a group of students who recently graduated. Two got married this summer. I attended one of the weddings and read at the other.”
Outside of work, Djupe is an avid reader. She downloads books to her Kindle, but also pursues her passion the traditional way by checking out books from the library. Come winter, she will be snowshoeing on the land surrounding her home near Skandia. Djupe is a young “Nana” to her son Christopher’s children, Alyvia, 4, and Aidan, 3. She calls them the “joy of my life,” but doesn’t get to see them as often as desired because they live downstate. She also has two step-grandchildren through her husband Tim, who is a welder and works in Escanaba.