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A Night Behind The Commons Desk

While downtown State College transforms into a scene of debauchery and bad decisions on the weekends, there are a few brave soldiers left behind. They are the men and women of the commons desk night staff. Whether their shifts ends at 12 a.m. or at 8 a.m., these dedicated students see the best and worst of the student body on any given Friday or Saturday night.

Late night commons desk clerks and daytime shifters have similar expectations. They’re randomly assigned to a desk at one of the five commons locations. They are then given the task of either organizing the mail or manning the desk (and assisting students as necessary).

“Working the weekends can be a little different,” student manager Joe Barry said. “It kind of depends on what hours you are given.”

Most students in search of the late night commons desk typically need help with lost keys or IDs, which is understandable after a night out. Students typically trickle in around 12-1 a.m. and the second wave appears somewhere between 2-4 a.m.

“Occasionally we get the student who wants to pick up a package at 3 a.m. on a Friday night,” Barry said.

Barry said most of the time students are well behaved (even after a night out). On several occasions students unable to sleep will wander to the commons desk and befriend the attendants until they inevitably return to their dorms.

But for every few positive student experiences, there are a few wild ones.

Students have thrown up on commons desks while attempting to get a replacement key, for example. Once a student fell down the stairs and needed medical attention, although he turned out to be okay.

One of the craziest stories occurred earlier this year at the Pollock commons. A student — whom we’re assuming was inebriated — decided he wanted to enter the building, just not through the door. Instead, he jumped through the window outside of The Mix, sending broken glass everywhere. Why.

According to Barry these incidents are few and far between, though. Although it keeps the attendants on their toes, the more behaved students the better.

Working an overnight at the commons desk may not be the ideal way to spend a Friday night, but it has its positives. “You get to meet a lot of new people and having new experiences can be a lot of fun,” Barry said.

Just make sure you’re nowhere near a window.

About the Author

Caitlin Gailey

Senior from just outside the city of Brotherly Love. Yes, I am one of those Philly sports fans. I bleed blue and white and have since birth. Maybe someday you will see me on ESPN and then again maybe not. If you ever want to inflate my ego email me at [email protected]


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