Desk Assistants Provide Extra Security on Weekends
Peter Falvey, Staff Writer
October 23, 2012
Filed under Campus Life
The weekend desk assistant service in residence halls provides security to students at times when campus is highly populated.
Director of Residence Life A.J. Nudo is please that the effort provides jobs to students.
“The desk assistant program has been a worthwhile program since we started it. It has enhanced our safety and security. It has given some students employment opportunities. Some students have gone on from being a desk assistant to being in a community assistant role,” said Nudo.
Desk assistants make sure buildings are safe and that everyone is accounted for, including guests. The desk assistants are stationed in the lobby of each residence hall Thursday through Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Students must check in guests. The guest must show an ID, which is returned if the guest is a university student. Otherwise, the guest must leave an ID with the assistant until the end of the visit.
Junior physical therapy major and desk assistant Megan Lage envisions some security improvements.
“I know that some schools do card swipes for students who go to the school. I feel like that would be more efficient instead of filling out their information,” said Lage.
Desk assistants also act as another set of eyes for Campus Safety.
“Unfortunately, students like to go out and party and we know that. Some come back intoxicated. We are alerted to that a little faster because someone is physically sitting down in the lobby area who can alert a Resident Assistant,” said Nudo. “If it is a dangerous situation, someone who had a little to much, we can quickly alert campus safety or other medical personnel, if need be. Even if it is a minute or two, we are able to address those things quicker.”
Lage said that she hasn’t noticed many instances that require security officers.
“The biggest problem is people trying to sneak people in or people not wanting to fill out the paperwork. I understand that it can be a hassle, but it is necessary,” said Lage.
Officials implemented the desk assistant programfour years ago, said Nudo.
“We wanted to try to get a desk assistant position that was 24 hours a day and seven days a week that students would have to sign into buildings when they wanted to visit a friend or bring in outside people from the community. The number one factor is the safety and the security of the students living inside of the buildings. We wanted to know who was there, the times and that people were being responsible for their guests while they were in the building,” said Nudo.
The desk assistant job requires students to work long and unusual hours: Night shifts run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. The job is not classified as work study.
“It can get kind of boring if nobody has a guest but it gives me an opportunity to get some homework done or to study during the calm times,” said Lage.
Nudo is already thinking about how he might grow the program.
“I came from a school that uses a 24 hour desk program. I would like to see it move to every day. It is another student job opportunity. It increases our safety. We have cameras but it’s a physical person sitting there, being able to report issues. If there is ever an emergency in a building, we know who is in that building. We have roosters, so we know who is there,” he said.
The presence of students seated behind desks helps maintain control in lobbies and provides a recognizable face, according to Nudo.
“It is also for crowd control, we know people can get a little rowdy. The main reason is so we know who is in the building on the nights we were granted desk assistant positions. So we can keep students who live in that area safe,” said Nudo.