October 26, 2020

Alec Mallmann: University Center of Attention

Would you rather: Eat a green or spotted banana?

For Alec Mallmann, UMW’s assistant director for Student Involvement and University Center (UC) coordinator, the answer is clear – green. The tart taste reminds him of a crisp Granny Smith apple.

Alec Mallmann, assistant director of Student Activities & Engagement and University Center (UC) coordinator.

Alec Mallmann, assistant director of Student Activities & Engagement and University Center (UC) coordinator.

The “Would You Rather?” questions posted daily at the UC’s second-floor info desk are a hit with the thousands of Mary Washington students who pour through the center each day. It’s just a taste of what goes on in the four-story, 100,000-square-foot building that houses student dining, meeting rooms, bookable spaces, a ballroom and so much more.

Since its debut three years ago, Mallmann, who studied theatre at UMW for a while, has helped shaped the space. (His dad, Darrow Mallman ’98, earned his BLS from UMW.)

The UC coordinator has developed policies, created a scheduling system, collaborated with clubs and clients, facilitated events, handled technology … the list goes on.

His main focus, though, is keeping students happy.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
A: We do so many events in the building, especially in Chandler Ballroom – 288 just last year. We have to get the room set up and flipped, deal with time management and make sure everything runs smoothly. Clients, caterers, clubs, everyone wants to use Chandler Ballroom.

Q: What’s the most rewarding?
A: Definitely the staff. I’ve worked with many of them for several years now, and we’ve got a great group of students. Watching them progress from their initial training to making their own decisions and taking initiative gives me a great feeling.

Q: Of all the events you’ve been involved with, what’s your favorite?
A: I was really proud the first year the UC hosted the Grad Ball. We were able to incorporate two floors and really maximize our space. Chandler Ballroom was used for the dance, with flashing lights and music. The second-floor lobby was more for socializing, with relaxed music, a photo booth and refreshments.

Q: Is there anywhere in the UC you can relax?
A: My favorite place is the terrace on the fourth floor that overlooks Ball Circle. I’m not able to get up there as much as I’d like, but on a beautiful spring or fall day, sitting back in a rocking chair is so relaxing.

Q: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I was an actor and voiceover actor in LA for five years. When I say that, I mean that I tried. It was a fun and eye-opening experience. I met my wife through doing that, and my dreams changed. I still do acting on the side, plays with the local community theaters and voiceovers for fun when I can.

Q: Is there a motto you live by?
A: There’s a lyric from Dave Matthews’ Two Step: “Celebrate we will, because life is short, but sweet for certain.” It reminds me that even when things are going wrong, I’m still living, I’m still breathing and I can still enjoy life.