Chris Malvica had a problem. A few years ago, a moose was trespassing on University property. He sent out his dog Skippy, trained to scare away animals, but Skippy was no match for the moose, which chased her back into the house. So Malvica boarded his RV and circled the animal, gunning the engine, until it lumbered back into the Wyoming wilderness.
Malvica is the project coordinator at the University’s Camp Davis in Jackson Hole, Wyo. He spends half his year in Ann Arbor recruiting and coordinating camp renovations and the other half at the camp itself, near the base of the Teton Mountains, doing general upkeep, cooking and fending off wild beasts.
During the winter he retreats to his windowless fifth-floor office in the C.C. Little Building. Huge garbage bags stuffed with Camp Davis fliers are piled on his couch. Towers of cardboard boxes line the room. He says he doesn’t spend much time there – he prefers Wyoming. What does his office look like at the camp?
“It’s a log cabin.”
Malvica says he probably has the best view of any University employee.
Malvica took the job in 2002 after spending a summer at the camp as a cook. A former chef at the Ritz Carlton, he introduced filet mignon and fresh fish to the menu. That year, he was invited to stay on full time. Malvica accepted and happily bid farewell to his position as a University electrician, saying he had grown “tired of wiring.”
Camp Davis, which sprawls over 120 acres, is the University’s westernmost property. Students come during the summer and usually stay for a few weeks studying geology, though the camp now offers an English course as well. Malvica says the students are generally well behaved, aside from some excessive drinking – Malvica’s own beverage of choice is Moose Drool pale ale – and occasional kitchen raids, which prompted him to install a baby monitor in the cooler.
Malvica says he’s accumulating experiences that might be foreign to most University staff, but he hasn’t seen anything truly outrageous. At least not yet.
“I haven’t had the job that long though, really,” he says, “so who knows?”
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