Village residents adjusting to fewer desk hours

Spandex and Grumpy Cat felt awkward for Faith Kerl.

Kerl, a junior psychology major and resident of The Village residence hall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was cooking lunch in her apartment when loud and obnoxious people in the hallway annoyed her.

“I like to yell at people,” Kerl said. “It’s kind of what I do.”

She stepped into the hallway to ask the people to be quiet, but didn’t know that her Grumpy Cat tank top, socks and spandex shorts she was sporting would make an outdoor appearance on campus. Kerl said since she was in her own apartment, she felt she could dress comfortably and relaxed. She wasn’t dressed for the brisk fall weather.

“By courtesy of karma, my door locked behind me,” she said. “So, I had to walk my happy little rear all the way to Smith (residence hall desk) to get myself a new room key.
“And it was awkward. Very, very awkward.”

Last year, Kerl would’ve been spared such an embarrassment.

The Village front desk wasn’t open when Kerl was locked out of her room because the desk service changed from 24-hours to being open 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. The Village is an apartment-style residence hall offered to undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students.

When The Village desk is closed, residents can go to the Smith residence hall desk, which is in the same housing complex as The Village and the Harper and Schramm residence halls.

“Looking at the usage and what was being done at the desk, we decided to put The Village at the same hours as Harper and Schramm and just keep Smith as the 24-hour desk,” said Keith Zaborowski, associate director of residence life at UNL Housing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Zaborowski said the decision was made last year around mid-March because that’s when UNL Housing starts it’s hiring cycle for the next academic year.

He said the reason The Village desk was originally open 24-hours wasn’t need-based. It was because of an unfinished remodel of the HSS housing complex in 2005. When the Smith desk was down because of renovations, The Village desk did the work. Now the desks are swapping positions again.

Zaborowski said fire alarm alerts were another reason The Village desk was open 24-hours. The desk worker usually would call the resident to get information about why the alarm went off. Desk workers would then report to the University operator. However, the Smith desk also gets all alarm messages in the complex, so he said it made sense to have Smith as the main desk.

Rachel Brummond, a junior Russian major and resident of The Village, said the change has been inconvenient when picking up packages because her schedule doesn’t coincide with the hours.

“Whenever I get a package, I just can’t go pick it up during the day. I usually have to wait until after hours,” Brummond said. “And I have some evening classes, too, so I usually have to go like at midnight or later since that’s the only time it’s open.”

The Village can be a two-minute walk from Smith. Students can still get their packages and other services at the Smith desk, so Zaborowski said UNL Housing didn’t feel it would be an inconvenience for students.

For Hunter Rowen, a sophomore physics and mathematics major and resident of The Village, the changed hours don’t pose a convenience or inconvenience. Rowen has never used the desk.

“I have yet to get a package, so there’s no real need to go to the desk to ask for mail,” Rowen said. “I haven’t locked myself out yet, no delinquency issues or roommate problems or anything like that so there’s really no need for me to seek assistance.”

Though Rowen doesn’t use any front desk, he said The Village desk should go back to it’s 24-hour routine. He said going between The Village and Smith desks might confuse students. But he also said there’s an expectation of The Village residents to not need as much assistance because they’re upperclassmen.

The change seems permanent according to Zaborowski, especially because other residence hall complexes have consolidated desks in the past, such as Knoll and University Suites. It’s just something residents will have to adapt to.

“It just brings everything in line when we try to convey the message to students, as to what’s open when and what they can get at each of the areas,” Zaborowski said. “Things that they would normally get at The Village desk, they would get at the Smith desk.”

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