By Matt Blair
On the fourth floor of the Viking Union is a small room cluttered with boxes, documents and a variety of objects ranging from flash drives to yo-yo’s and everything in between. This closet-sized room located at VU 434 is the Lost and Found office, and they might have some of your stuff.
Sophomore Samantha Oberholzer wasn’t sure about where she would end up when she decided to do work study last fall. Soon, she found herself sitting behind a desk in the Lost and Found office helping students find their lost items. After one year, she enjoyed it so much that she asked to do it again.
She said in a typical one hour shift; it’s likely that about 10 to 20 people will walk into the lost and found looking for an item. Wallets, water bottles and flash drives are usually the most inquired after objects.
“We get all sorts of people in here looking for all sorts of things,” Oberholzer said.
When an item is brought into the Lost and Found, it goes through a rather elaborate process before being put into storage. First the item is categorized based on what it is. For instance, wallets go with other purses and wallets, not with the recovered Nalgenes.
Once it’s placed into the proper category, each individual item is given a number. That number is also put into a computer database that stores information about the object.
After that is completed, the found object is placed in a box also related to its category so that it can be retrieved at a given time. The number is also written in marker on the outside of the box so that if someone comes to claim the item, the number may be crossed out to indicate that it’s been returned.
Dale Sharp, also a work study at Lost and Found, said that he liked the job and planned to stay on next year. He especially enjoys the solitude of the VU fourth floor, where he can do his homework quietly. In his assessment, the Lost and Found is very effective at helping people recoup their missing goods.
“Sometimes we get iPods and phones and I say, ‘how did someone lose that?’” Sharp said. “But, we help a lot of people down here.”
If an item remains unclaimed for two quarters, the staff of the lost and found office begins organizing the items to be sold at their annual rummage sale. Oberholzer said that the lost and found is currently preparing items from last fall to be sold on campus.
Usually the rummage sales have generally been a big success on campus undoubtedly because they sell lost items at such cheap prices, she said. Things in high demand, like winter coats and USB drives are generally snatched up in the first day because they can be purchased for a fraction of their normal cost.
“Things go really fast on the first day,” Oberholzer said. “Usually we sell a lot. A lot of otherwise expensive things first, but the first day is always successful.”