The next time you see a green vest and a radio patrolling Paresky late at night, try to imagine a new person behind that uniform. Approximately 35 of the green-vested figures across campus are not Campus Safety and Security (CSS) officers at all, but fellow peers and classmates working part-time at CSS’s student work program.
Alison Warner, associate director for Clery Compliance and Training and a past manager of CSS’s student employment program, views student employment as an important aspect of CSS’s operations.
“Student workers help us in a variety of ways,” she said. “They check the emergency phones on campus, they provide student escorts and they work during special events like concerts and athletic games. These student roles supplement our department as a whole when we may not have extra staffing for those positions.”
There are three types of positions available to students at CSS: campus monitors, whose duties include testing emergency phones, providing student escorts and monitoring common spaces on campus from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.; switchboard operators, who take and redirect calls at the Williams Switchboard; and office assistants, who assist with paperwork during CSS’s daytime hours.
These students are also on hand to park cars at football games, direct traffic during major college-sponsored events and assist with crowd control and backstage operations during concerts.
“The way we do things here is that we’ll train the workers in all the jobs that we have. So, if someone can’t make their shift, they’ll put it in our text group and any other student can pick up those hours,” explained Scott Braman, security patrol supervisor and current manager of CSS’s student employment program.
From this varied set of work experiences, Braman described the connections that form during a student’s time at CSS. “A lot of the students we get as first years stay the entire four years,” he said. “I’ve had student workers that worked for us 10 or 15 years ago, and I’ll see them at alumni events, and they’ll still come up and have a conversation with me. It’s pretty amazing.”
Alejandro Zuleta ’21, who has worked with CSS since his first year, agreed. He said CSS staff have always been supportive of students joining the team.
“I remember my freshman year, Scott Braman came around to my entry talking about CSS, and he mentioned that you can work there. He told us that if we wanted a job there, we should shoot him an email. Right away, I asked him for his contact information,” Zuleta said.
Although being a campus patrol might seem like an action-packed experience, Zuleta’s most impactful memories while working for CSS have been quieter moments.
“The officers are a lot friendlier than I think most people would imagine at first,” Zuleta said. “I remember working during a football game my freshman year, and I would get paired up with an officer manning the gates. Nancy [Macauley] is one of them, and she’s a really cool person; she’s really nice. She asked me all about myself, and then she quizzed me on the school’s geography when I was still a freshman.”
Indeed, CSS staff members develop positive friendships and networks with students involved with CSS. Ben Morton ’19 said that he began working for CSS his freshman year, per his wrestling teammates’ (who also worked for CSS) recommendation. According to Morton, “[Braman] was extremely excited to welcome more wrestlers on board due to his positive experience with having some of my teammates as employees.
“I have been able to interact with the people in charge of CSS at Williams and talk to them about issues that my classmates and I are curious about,” Morton said. “It gives an inside look into something we don’t usually get to see as students.”
Describing the impact of student employment at CSS, Braman said, “I think the College in general does a great job of helping students with employment and preparing them for the future, whether that be through helping them write resumes or giving them actual job experience. You’ll have something under your belt and be able to say, ‘I worked for four years at the College, and here is what I did.’”
“For us, it’s very positive,” said Warner. “Students are able to fill some spots that we can’t, and it’s just extra sets of eyes and ears for us when there’s a lot of different activities and a lot of things going on.”
If you are interested in getting to know your fellow CSS officers while picking up some real world work experience, contact Scott Braman at [email protected] for more information.