Mark Champagne recognizes student workers who go above and beyond.
“…But it’s great experience.”
It is a mantra Mark Champagne has uttered many times, to the thousands of students who have worked for him during his 32 years as business manager for Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD).
While the slogan motivated students to do difficult jobs, it also reflects Champagne’s love of UC Davis and prompted his donation to thank the university and promote superior customer service among student workers at ASUCD. Upon retiring in June 2011, Champagne donated $25,000, which ASUCD matched, to fund customer service awards for hourly UC Davis student employees.
“My passion, my heart and soul are with the hourly employees — the cashier and the bus driver. That’s who I want to leave a legacy with,” said Champagne, a first-generation college student whose father was a truck driver. “I have a lot of passion for those working in the trenches. They’re the ones who really need the money and, with student fees increasing, I wanted to do my part to help.”
As business manager of ASUCD, Champagne managed 30 different campus programs, many of which grew under his leadership to become among the largest programs of their kind in the nation — including the Bike Barn, a student-run bike repair and rental shop that does 10,000 repairs a year; the Coffee House, a campus eatery that employs more than 250 student workers and is a $4.2 million break-even operation; and Unitrans, a public transportation system operated largely with student workers that serves more than 3 million passengers a year. Champagne attributes this growth to the high caliber of student workers at UC Davis and the high quality customer service each one provides.
“If I can help promote great customer service at ASUCD and reward the student who goes above and beyond, then I think I’ve left a legacy,” Champagne said. “And I’m just happy that, through my gift, the university has allowed me to do that.”