As professionals in college unions or student centers, we’ve all seen some outlandish things: costumed students running through the building, impromptu artistic performances, even an invited speaker who may cause a reaction, positively or negatively. At some institutions, there may even be “unwelcome guests,” and not just that over-zealous student who may be stalking your office to ask a “quick question,” wherein you question their interpretation of the word quick.
One of the potential drawbacks to our buildings full of glass, windows, and bucolic surroundings is they may attract more of the native population through your doors. Last year, Jessica Dyrdahl posted in The Commons about a moose on the hunt for handouts at the University of Alaska–Anchorage. That particular visitor left less of a mark than the deer that decided to pay a visit to Denison University.
I was not entirely shocked to see this update in my inbox when reviewing building reports a few weekends ago: “Something new happened at the Union today. A bird flew in from a window in the Center and eventually flew back outside after 20 minutes of exploring.” I was able to determine that our winged guest had arrived via an open window in the student government suite, even though the windows don't open more than about two inches. I followed up with the inter-professional council’s student president to get the rest of the story:
“We were having our cabinet transitions meeting, and I swear the little bird knew we were starting at 5:30; on the dot, he flies in to join us.
My favorite part is that every member of our new cabinet just quietly said, ‘Oh, funny.’ I see it and let out a nice, loud squealing scream, and Anne threw in a little verbal editorial, which will remain unwritten.
So, I call it our first team building exercise, and we started finding boxes and shirts (we had three vet students with us) to try to get the little dude to stop flying so we could get him back to the window. After about 10 minutes, I told the staff in the resource room and building management took over so we could actually have our meeting. Good lesson for me: My new cabinet remains cooler than I do when unexpected things happen!”
Fortunately, no birds were harmed in the retelling of this story, and we were able to cross yet another ‘first’ off the list in the Ohio Union.
Have you had any experiences with critters visiting your facility? How do you handle these situations when they come up?
is the Associate Director, Ohio Union at Ohio State University.
Jeff oversees building operations including event production, audio-visual, shipping and receiving, and office administration. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Boston College and a master’s in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University. He has been an ACUI volunteer at the regional and international level since 2003 and is active on social media, figuring out his digital identity alongside the students, colleagues, and mentors who aren’t bored with his posts and updates.