Late-night workers at Kent State have a different kind of nightlife.


Julien Johnson, a senior philosophy major, has worked as a security aide for nearly three years. He prides himself in getting to know the residents he looks after.

Jenna Kuczkowski

The phrase “up all night” gets put into a new context once you start to notice some of Kent State’s late night workers. The campus doesn’t close after dark, and for some student workers, the idea of “nightlife” can be substituted for “job.” These students include security aides, Rosie’s workers and Tech at Night workers. They are the ones who stay up and keep the university running even after the rest of us are safely tucked away in our tiny dorm beds.

Securing the night

Known for their bright yellow hoodies and frequent presence in the residence halls late into the night, Kent State security aides make rounds and are on duty from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“We ask people when they start the job, ‘Can you stay up until 4 a.m.?’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah I do it all the time,’ but staying up, hanging out with friends, doing homework or playing video games is completely different than staying up and doing the job,” said David Rodenbaugh, a junior criminal justice major and supervisor at Kent State’s Safety and Security department where he has spent nearly three years working.

A typical night for a student security aide is spent making sure that the campus and residence halls are safe and secure, escorting students and making sure on-campus policies are being followed, such as enforcing quiet hours in each residence hall.

“We patrol around, make sure that the dorms are a good environment for things like learning or sleeping, making sure people aren’t yelling and screaming at one in the morning and there’s no one in danger to students,” said Nick Carte, a junior criminology major who has been with security for almost two years.

“Our main job is to keep an exemplary learning environment for students, and if that means that we have to stop you from, say, having a party with 100 people in your little dorm then so be it,” said Julien Johnson, a senior philosophy major who has worked as a security aide for nearly three years.

The aides’ troubles don’t end after they stop patrolling the halls and clock out. The security team is then faced with another challenge: sleeping.

“You can’t just go home and go right to sleep; you have to wind down a little bit,” Carte said. “Usually on a good night, I don’t go to bed until 5, 5:30. You kind of get used to staying up this late.”

Sometimes, the job of a security aide can run past 4 a.m. Rodenbaugh said that security has to respond to any incident before 4 a.m., even if it’s at 3:50 a.m. He said that even after an incident is over, aides still have about 40 minutes of paperwork to do after each one.

“I once had an incident at 3:55 a.m., and I was at the head office in Tri,” Johnson said. “I had just put all my stuff away when they told us we have to get back up to Quad because there was an ambulance on the way. We physically ran all the way back up to Quad. People don’t realize how much work goes into our job.”

Carmen Lanzo, a junior nursing major, said that he finds it funny when intoxicated people try to avoid security by being sneaky about it, even though it’s so obvious that they’re not in a clear state of mind.

“I’m not going to go into it,” Lanzo said, “but you would be surprised with some of the stuff you come across while on duty.”

Rodenbaugh recalled one incident where an intoxicated man dislodged a bus stop sign from the ground and then proceeded to carry it around campus and into one of the residence halls.

“The RA who saw him first said she made eye contact with him, he dropped the sign, ran and 30 seconds later, I walk around the corner,” Rodenbaugh said.

Security aides go through extensive training to prepare for the different types of incidents and people they might encounter on the job. When hired, aides go through 12 nights (or 100 hours of training) done by a certified security aide, where they learn the codes and signals used by the aides, as well as the phonetic alphabet used by the police.

Security aides are also trained in what’s called verbal judo, which is used to de-escalate situations, like fights, or when residents aren’t being cooperative, in order to make it easy for both parties to come to an agreement.

“If you’re looking into policing, this job really helps because every night you learn something new about how to talk to people, act professional and be respectful,” Carte said.

As for morning classes, the aides said they plan their schedules so they can avoid early classes or try not to work the night before one if possible.

“The first semester I worked here, I didn’t know the job was as hard as it was going to be, so classes and work conflicted really badly,” Rodenbaugh said. “After that point, I realized this was really something I wanted to do, so I made sure to stick it out.”

Thank you for calling Tech Support

We’ve all been there: You’re pulling an all-nighter trying to write that 10-page paper due tomorrow and the Internet goes out. You frantically reach for your phone and dial the number for Tech at Night. A student picks up the phone.

Even late at night, students are up working to find and check problems with the wireless network on campus, as well as offering on-campus tech support.

Tech at Night, provided by Information Services, aims to help students with problems like connecting mobile devices and computers to the FlashZone wireless network, resolving basic computer issues or cable TV issues, and answering other technology questions.

“We scan the Wi-Fi in each building and do five scans per floor to get the download speed and the signal strength along with some other miscellaneous information about the wireless network,” said Tiffany Termini, a sophomore visual communication design major who has worked for Tech at Night since August.

In addition to roaming the residence halls, student tech leaders are also stationed at all five of the Tech at Night spots located at Tri Towers, Twin Towers, Dunbar and Stopher halls and the University Library. They can also be reached by submitting a support ticket online or by calling their tech help line. Their services are available from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Termini said that all Tech at Night students go through basic computer training in addition to learning how to perform the different scans and enter in the correct information.

After the shift ends, however, homework waits patiently to be finished.

“I usually just stay up after work until it’s done,” Termini said. “So, my usual bedtime is around 2:30 in the morning. I don’t have any really early classes, so it kind of balances out my sleep schedule.”

For others, like Emmalee Antill, a freshman managerial marketing major who started her job at Tech at Night last semester, early morning classes are practically unavoidable.

“I hate my 9:15 class,” Antill said. “I have an hour break between then and my next class, and I always come back and sleep. It’s instrumental to my health. I need that nap!”

In the end, Tech at Night students are just looking to start a conversation and give tech advice while roaming the halls in their bright orange hoodies.

“We like talking to people and showing people that we’re friendly and not scary like some may think,” Antill said.

Making a late night snack

“It’s all about timing,” Alexis Fitzsimmons said. “From the very minute someone places an order, up until they get their food.”

Fitzsimmons, a sophomore criminal justice major, has worked at Rosie’s for almost two years.

Rosie’s Diner and Delivery is open every day from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., making and delivering food to students across campus.

Fitzsimmons compares Rosie’s to a conveyor belt with someone answering the phone and taking the order, another making the pizza or wings, and another who delivers.

Workers at Rosie’s wait to get about three or four orders to come in and be completed before sending out the delivery car. By nature, some nights are busier than others, such as Super Bowl Sunday or when there’s an event on campus. However, Fitzsimmons said there’s constantly a delivery car going out unless business is extremely slow.

What takes so long for deliveries to arrive at their destination isn’t making the food, or even delivering it apparently. Many of the Rosie’s delivery workers said the long delivery times are due to students not coming down right away to get their food when a Rosie’s worker calls them telling them they’ve arrived.

After receiving many complaints about the lengthy delivery times, workers have started timing the customers from when they’re called to come get the food to when they actually come out to get it. Right now, the average time people take to get their food is 4 to 5 minutes after the delivery car arrives outside their dorm and the customer is called.

“It’s really frustrating and disheartening, but there are some people who are right there waiting who are the best,” Fitzsimmons said.

The average Rosie’s delivery time is currently at 48 minutes. Their goal is to get that time down to fewer than 45 minutes.

Other issues with Rosie’s delivery can arise from the weather conditions. Cold temperatures and snow storms can severely slow down or even stop delivery. A few drivers said they often hate getting picked to do delivery because the delivery cars aren’t heated. Some even said they don’t feel comfortable driving them.

Unlike Rosie’s Diner, Rosie’s delivery service doesn’t typically deal with very many intoxicated students late at night. The majority of workers said they’ve never had a problem with people picking up their food while drunk. They also said if there is a rude or inappropriate caller, workers could just put that number on a “do not serve” list, banning the student from ordering for a period of time.

“Sometimes people are rude or the connection is bad, and you can’t understand them, or there are just too many calls at once,” said Keely Geise, a sophomore integrated language arts major who has been working at Rosie’s for about a year.

Meanwhile at the diner, which is open 24/7, things run a little differently.

Geise, who works in the diner from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. every other Saturday, said it’s always interesting to watch intoxicated people come in to Rosie’s to get food.

“People just come in drunk and are loud and ridiculous and falling asleep at tables,” Geise said. “A girl was trying so hard to get ketchup one night and was swaying so much. It was actually kind of sad.”

Fitzsimmons, who no longer works in the diner due to the kind of people that come in, said one late Thursday night was what finally caused her to switch to the delivery side.

“All the drunks were coming back from Thursday night out, and I had this girl lean over the expo counter where we call out the numbers and call me the B word and then yell ‘I want a cup of cheese’ right in my face,” Fitzsimmons said.

On top of working all night long, some workers also have morning classes to look forward to after a stressful night.

Geise said she has a 7:45 a.m. class the morning after she’s worked until 11 p.m. the night before.

“It’s definitely a drag, and I’m usually just exhausted the next day,” Geise said, “but I’m used to it by now.”

Workers at Rosie’s said that even though the job may be stressful at times, they still enjoy it and love the people they work with, often times forming close friendships in and out the workplace.

“It’s a sequence of things happening,” Fitzsimmons said. “And you definitely rely on your teammates to make everything properly and make everything work out smoothly.”

But a late night job on campus isn’t for everyone.

“No matter where you work on campus, I think it takes a certain personality to work certain places,” Fitzsimmons said. “You definitely need to be high energy and extroverted to work in the diner.”

Contact Jenna Kuczkowski at [email protected].