Unsung Heroes: Walsh Hall Security Guards
The Friendly Faces at the Walsh Security Desk
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Walsh Hall is undeniably one of the most unique residence halls at Boston College. From the warm sense of community to the rambunctious social scene, Walsh is a sacred part of the sophomore identity. Yet there is a distinctive aspect of this residence hall that is not found anywhere else on campus: front desk attendants.
Ricardo Mazul and Mich Witty, pronounced like Michigan, are the watchful observers that ensure the safety of the Walsh residents. The BC Police Department and Residential Life implemented the Walsh Front Desk Pilot Project in order to increase the levels of security in the residence hall. The primary concerns of the security officers are the protection of the residents and the prevention of any unauthorized access. The two security officers at the front desk confirm that the sophomores who enter are Walsh residents, and that all guests are systematically checked in with valid identification.
Although the front desk is a fairly new addition to the building, it has become an essential part of the distinctive atmosphere of Walsh. This is due largely to the fact that the characters manning the front desk amplify the individuality of the building. Sophomores refer to Ricardo and Mich by their first names, yet this was not always the case. "Students were resistant at first, but they came to embrace us," Ricardo said.
Sophomores greatly appreciate the presence of both Ricardo and Mich, especially during the late night hours. Mich recalls the thanks he received from students who were up late doing laundry or from students who valued the absence of unwanted strangers in the hallways. The existence of a front desk is not to intimidate sophomores and make them feel as if they were going through airport security, but rather to provide a sense of comfort to students. Ricardo and Mich have been members of the close-knit Walsh community for the past two and three years, respectively, and have seamlessly integrated themselves within the population of sophomores. Greetings are constantly exchanged between the sophomores and security guards starting with the commotion at 5 p.m. into the peacefulness of a new morning at 5 a.m.
After a long night of celebrating the end of the school week, students are usually eager to return to their dorms. There are times in which students must wait a couple of minutes before being able to enter the residence hall, however. "When it’s late and people want to go through the ropes, I respect students who are patient enough to be checked in," Mich said.
While authority is not something that college students necessarily want to deal with on a daily basis, Ricardo and Mich are different. Students are not daunted by the presence of security officers, but rather they are eager to interact with them. Once the initial barrier of awkwardness is broken, the students have the opportunity to relate to two very interesting characters.
Ricardo is originally from Guatemala, but he has spent the majority of his life living in Boston. His interests are as diverse as the students that he sees on a daily basis. "I have a very, very broad taste in music. My top-two favorite artists are Eminem and Steve Aoki," Ricardo said. Although his position as Walsh security officer is quite sedentary, Ricardo is currently training for the Boston Marathon. Running through Mile 21 will surely be a wonderful experience for Ricardo, as he is held dear by countless upperclassmen. Accomplishing this incredible feat requires much dedication and discipline, and while past students have generously offered Ricardo mozzarella sticks from Late Night at Corcoran Commons, he will be more appreciative of healthier alternatives. "If students bring me anything, it’s not like I will reject it. I definitely appreciate it when students bring me something," Ricardo said.
Mich is fond of all the visits that previous sophomores make during his late night shifts at the Walsh front desk. "I can’t forget about the past students who come by here to show us the love they gave us back when they were Walsh residents," Mich said. While he enjoys reminiscing with the students of previous years, he is also open to getting to know the current sophomores. "The conversations that I have with the students in this hall are great. Although it’s brief, just talking to us and the fact that they acknowledge us makes this job that much more enjoyable," Mich said. During the quiet hours of the night, Mich appreciates reading books that residents offer to lend him. "Outside of work, I enjoy being out in the social scene, playing pool, but what really does it for me is spending time with my daughter," Mich said.