Two to three times a month I hold publicized office hours in the Coates Center lobby. This is a way to be visible - a must for a Dean of Students. I have other ways too. Thought I would log today's session.
9:15 a.m. - Set-up: I am assigned the southern of the three tables. Good start
9:16 a.m. - I am here at this time to catch the traffic from students walking up from the dorms on the way to 9:3o classes. They look tired.
9:18 a.m. - Accost first year students Sheila Castle (fellow runner) and Reagan Pennycuff (Springsteen fan) for photo op. Poor lighting. Will try later.
9:19 a.m. - Start counting student reactions to my being in Coates lobby. Begin by categorizing "eye-contact," and "no eye-contact" responses.
9:22 a.m. - Notice TV monitor over the info desk across from me. Advertises campus events. Graffiti Wipe-out slide for Saturday program. Supposed to show paint. Looks like blood. Not good.
9:28 - First-year student Nathan Friedman stops to introduce himself. He likes me, he really likes me! I have a new BFF.
9:30 a.m. - "No eye-contacts" have a commanding lead. They are just tired. Or suspicious.
9:31 a.m. - Four Security Officers outside of Coates chatting. I am safest Dean in the country at this moment.
9:32 a.m. - All is quiet. Too quiet. Go on a decaf coffee run at Commons. Son Nguyen, info desk worker, watches my gear.
9:34 a.m. - Think of grabbing USA Today courtesy of the student government readership program. Decide not to take a paper. Need to be sharp for student visitors. Ask Son to take picture. Why is my face red?
9:36 a.m. - Still feeling very safe here.
9:38 a.m. - New category to tally my passers-by: "Sympathy looks."
9:40 a.m. - Oh lord, I forgot to wear a belt today. That explains a lot.
9:42 a.m. - Posted banner at main windows advertises "Chain-mail Night" make-your-own program. Immediate suspicions confirmed: sponsored by Gaelic Cultural Society.
9:44 a.m. - Still safe.
9:45 a.m. - 1970's Christopher Cross song "Sailing" is playing on the tinny Commons radio in the distance. Some songs should be retired. This is one of them.
9:52 a.m. - Security departs. Still feel safe though as it seems my "Office Hours" sign could read "Pretend I do not exist. Really, just IGNORE ME. Have a nice day."
9:55 a.m. - Just waiting for Nathan Friedman to get out of class.
9:58 a.m. - What would Susan Boyle do?
9:59 a.m. - Prospective student from Greece or Arlington stops at info desk with mom. I interrupt their questions to Son so I can feel loved. They think I am too forward I fear.
10:00 a.m. - Son goes to class.
10:03 - Two women from Club Tennis staff northern table recruiting people for weekend event for charity. Now THEY are forward, but I relish the competition.
10:05 a.m. - Staff member stops to check with me on two students in recent accident. We have a very caring community. That's no joke.
10:10 a.m. - Tennis girls attracting young male students.
10:11 a.m. - He seems hot.
10:15 a.m. - Sasha Nouri, first year student, introduces her friend Rachel Johnson to me. Things are looking up.
10:20 a.m. - Taylor Woodard, senior stops by. She has a sweet job lined up in NYC!
10:22 a.m. - Class just let out. Here comes action.
10:24 - Robby Glass and Lindsay Landgraff stop by. Lindsay tells me of the PIKE/SIGMA event at noon. For 48 hours they will see-saw on the esplanade to raise funds for the Children's Shelter.
10:28 a.m. - Forget name of one of the RA's we hired for next year. Oops. It is morning after all. And it was decaf too.
10:30 a.m. - Domale Dube reports for duty at info desk. Fifteen minutes to go. Only five hours until the weekly Nacho Hour in this same location. Can't wait!
10:31 a.m. - Mike Guerra, junior/RM, stops by. He has been by every time I have had office hours. Stalker...
10:32 a.m. - Stop counting "no eye-contact" people. It is getting sad. Many are even looking at the screen with the blood/paint across from me to AVOID eye-contact.
10:33 a.m. - Adam Cason, ASR president (also an office hour stalker like Mike Guerra) stops by. Wants a pen refill (long story). Heads north to the table with the... Wait a minute - I KNOW he doesn't play tennis.
10:34 Elliott Wilkes, senior, comes by. May get a job in Obama administration. OMG, a line is forming behind him - well, one guy anyways. "Great Elliott, say hi to Barack for me... Next!"
10:35 A.M. - Student asks legitimate question... I have to get back to him.
10:40 a.m. - Class must have started again. Shhhhh.
10:41 a.m. - Student complaining to tennis girls about end-of-semester assignments. I totally could have handled that one.
10:42 a.m. - Trinitonian editor picks up a guitar-shaped package from Mail Center across the lobby. Maybe will write song about Sophomore College.
10:45 a.m. - Final count (does not include anyone I know - some of whom also ignored me):
No eye-contact - 63
Eye-contact - 12
Sympathy looks - 2
Disdain - 1
Greetings from strangers (some verbal action required) - 4
Well, at least I got something out of this.