What’s new at the Warch

David Rubin

(marc deheeger)

You, dear reader, are probably already tight with the students who staff the Warch Campus Center’s information desk. Who knows, maybe you’re tight with the desk itself.
Was it the oversized TV twinkling kindly overhead – that mysterious gray animation in the lower right-hand corner is a clock, by the way – that enchanted you? Or was it the sight of four – four! – LCD displays that aroused your deepest sympathy and respect?
Wait? What’s that? You don’t actually know anything about the Info Desk? Oh, okay. Let’s fix that.

The Warch Info Desk is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is staffed by students – more on them later – from 8 a.m. until midnight. The overnight shift is handled by Lawrence’s professional security personnel. You know, the ones outfitted with official-looking headsets.
The Info Desk has a few primary functions. First and foremost, it serves as the “campus hub.” If, for example, you were to pick up a telephone and call the main Lawrence University phone number, one of the friendly students at the Info Desk would answer and send your call hurtling off toward ITS, Zeek the Conservatory Dog, or equivalent.
One could visit the Info Desk in search of “information,” but one could also visit the Info Desk in search of stuff to sign out. What kind of stuff? Tons of stuff. Bicycles. Pool equipment. Even A/V gadgetry.
You can also visit the Info Desk if you are in search of your own stuff, because those friendly students double as the fierce guards of a massive lost-and-found.
And, if you need another reason to get chummy with those desk workers, keep in mind that they are in charge of the magic stamp that will make your fliers and advertisements campus-center approved. That’s right: all fliers pass through the Info Desk on their way on the walls of the campus center.
But now that you know just what the Info Desk can do for you, aren’t you curious about what it’s like to sit on the other side of those shiny name placards? Imagine, for a moment, what it must be like having to deal with the entire campus. Current students, former students, future students, parents, lost parents, faculty, staff, the administration, visiting preschoolers – the Info Desk staff sees it all.
They’ve seen a crew of brawny men affix an installation – large enough to crush half of the campus, mind you – to the ceiling. “Somewhere along the way, this project got a lot more involved than anyone expected,” Jami Lin, of Info Desk fame, reported overhearing.
They’ve seen the aftermath of an accident involving a Basic Keyboard Skills textbook, two flights of stairs and gravity. And they’ve seen the blinding late-afternoon sun. Actually, they see it everyday, around 4 p.m., in a period dubbed “sunglasses hour.” And all this time, dear reader, you thought they were just trying to be sultry.
Those Info Desk kids also have good hearing. Sara Joss, one of the Info Desk regulars, described overhearing a large group of students belting “L-O-V-E” with admirable gusto but with the wrong lyrics, while others recalled being overexposed to students’ personal lives as a result of the classic move of sitting right across from the Info Desk and having a loud phone conversation about personal business. That’s right. They can hear you.
But despite being subjected to our not-so-hushed gossip and our everyday troubles – sadly, they can’t open mailboxes for you, and they’ve already been asked, many a time – the students I talked to were universally friendly. So stop by and say thanks to that friendly face of Lawrence, the voice of the campus switchboard, the keeper of the keys: the student sitting wearily behind the Info Desk. And if he or she already knows why your pet ran away from you and the sex was not good, just take it as a gentle hint that it’s time to find a new telephone alcove.

(marc deheeger)