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Take 5 with Cora Hanson
Friday, December 9, 2011
Take 5 with Cora Hanson
By Katie Land, news editor

Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.


“Take 5 with Cora Hanson”


Cora Hanson is the manager of Environmental Health and Life Safety. In her role, Cora oversees many issues on campus such as occupational safety, health, fire and life safety systems, environmental compliance, training, crisis management and more. Additionally, Cora serves on several committees and works as a liaison to a variety of organizations and departments. Since joining the Oakland University community about ten years ago, Cora has worked to ensure that the campus community moves along safely and smoothly. In recognition of her dedication and quality work, she was also named the OU Employee of the Month in 2010.


1) What are the unique challenges you face in your field?

It is always a challenge to balance the dynamic between the every day issues and those that come up in an emergency situation. We try to be proactive in our programming, but the nature of my work is very responsive, and it is difficult to anticipate every scenario. We respond to a constantly evolving regulatory environment. Opinions change and policies change very quickly, so we have to stay on top of it. I try to be prepared to changing procedures and work to find funding to implement these changes. At Oakland, I have seen that the whole of our community is concerned with health and safety, so knowing that we always have support certainly makes my job easier.

2) Do you have any tips to help people stay safe and healthy throughout the winter season?

As far as general health goes, I recommend that everyone follow the “Stop the Flu at OU” procedures and wash hands, get a flu shot, and stay home when you are sick. There are many issues to focus on this time of year, everything from safely shoveling snow to the proper way to deep fry a turkey. Especially at this time of year, when everyone is rushing around, remembering to slow down a little, can help us all to be a little safer! But, health and safety are important throughout the year, and it is my job to inform and help everyone remember this.

3) Do you have any special holiday traditions?

I’m a Christmas nut, so the list of family holiday traditions could be endless. I love to cook, bake and entertain and I always get my family to traipse into a field to cut down our own Christmas tree (whatever the Michigan weather!) Over the past few years, my parents have begun to host a Polar Express Screening Party for the kids, and we have several Christmas Eve traditions. Since my family is very close and lives very near each other, we are able to spend a lot of time together.

4) Where is your favorite vacation or travel spot?

We visited Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks last year and it was really beautiful. I would love to return, but Hurricane Irene has since been through and I know there was a lot of damage to the area. To me, any kind of travel is good travel. Really, the first day of a vacation is the most exciting... there is so much anticipation. Anything is possible! Before we had children, my husband and I were able to travel overseas and throughout Europe. My favorite of those trips was to Munich, it was such a phenomenal experience. I also have a family connection there, so it was a really incredible trip. We travelled all through Bavaria. I would love to go back with the kids.

5) What is a typical workday like for you?

There are no typical workdays! There are always projects and tasks to get done, but the day is really dictated by what needs to be addressed, and that can change at a moment’s notice. I could teach a training class, or work with a student intern, but then things come up. Construction and renovation projects usually have several issues attached to them that need a response. Also, everyone in my office is a first responder for Oakland University, so we on call all day and all night. The various situations could be fire, flood, a chemical spill, air control or several others. I also act as a liaison with Hazmat, the fire department, and any other community organization we may need to interact with.




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