This week I want to recognize the individuals I see working hard in the Warch Campus Center every day—the information desk student workers. There are typically two students at the desk. Worker one logs in daily interactions with people, directs calls and manages the register. Worker two runs around finding equipment, keys for rooms, bikes and van rentals, lost and found items and helping out with wheelchair access.
The full-time desk worker typically works eight to ten hours per week. Junior Jesus Sanchez and seniors Hoa Huyen and Dinardo Rodriguez love their jobs and agree that one of the perks is being able to do homework while helping people.
Sanchez is an ethnic studies major with an innovation and entrepreneurship minor. He is also the vice president of Kids Give and a member of Allianza. His responsibilities at the desk include accessing storage in the cinema, opening up conference centers and answering phone calls.
He has been working at the info desk for a year. His favorite part of the job is when people call Lawrence, but don’t know they have called Lawrence. For example, one caller thought he was speaking to a water factory. Spontaneous calls like this make Sanchez’s day.
He typically works six hours per week, but is willing to take other worker’s shifts when needed. Sometimes it is challenging not to give a blank stare when neither he nor his coworker knows how to answer a question. He is commonly asked what movies are playing, what the hours are for the Commons and when performances in the theatre and chapel are.
The craziest call he ever got was from someone who wanted to donate rocks. Sanchez recommends this job to anyone who is charismatic, wants to help people and knows what activities are happening on campus.
Huyen recently retired from being the information desk manager, but is still an information desk worker. She is an economics major. She has worked at the info desk for three years since her sophomore year. She works seven to eight hours per week. Her favorite part of the job is being one of the first people guests see when they walk into Warch. She has acquired excellent communication and customer service skills. She was a student tour guide, but likes the information desk more because the tasks are more relaxed.
The most challenging part of the job is putting on a happy demeanor on days when she is sad. The most valuable skills she has learned are professionalism and answering questions. She knows how to direct visitors to different people and departments, and to do that she has to think on her feet and know the school very well. The most challenging part of the job is that sometimes people will call and complain about their lives. She recommends this job to those who want to be experts on Lawrence.
Rodriguez is a government major and economics minor. He is also a member of J-board and Kids Give and is a department assistant for the innovation and entrepreneurship department.
At the information desk, he handles complaints and questions people might have ranging from Wi-Fi passwords to bike rentals and has to know about special events and room reservations. Rodriguez has been working there for three years. He heard about the position freshman year and liked the aspect of being able to work while studying. He used to work for Career Services and did not have time to study.
He believes working the information desk is a good way to make friends and help people. He works from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m. on Saturdays to get in most of his hours, but some workers may space it out throughout the week. He believes the job requires communication skills and social intelligence.
A good desk worker is someone who is able to gauge the reasoning behind questions. The worst part about the job is repeated questions. Parents and prospective students often call about admissions. Sometimes they will ask about meetings in rooms he is not familiar with.
There is one woman from Appleton who asks about different events and he has to read out the event calendar for half an hour. He recommends this job for anyone looking for a work and school balance.