Why do only women work the information desk?

Garth Van Donselaar – Staff Writer

It’s a question buried in the back of the mind of several Dordt students, and a thought that occasionally gets brought up again when passing the front desk. Yet the question remains, “why?”

“The Dance Team only has girls, but that’s just because boys don’t try out,” said senior Martina Hoogland, who has spent six semesters working at the Information Desk. “I assumed it was the same thing where boys didn’t want to do that.”

For a lot of students who work at the Information Desk, they secured their job via a friend who worked there before. One such person is senior Leah Kamp.

Kamp’s connection is her now-roommate Micah Vande Vegte, who got her ‘in’ from a connection to a staff member. Kamp says at the end of each semester, students who work at the Information Desk are asked to give suggestions, which is what led to her eventual employment.

According to Kamp, the position is primarily staffed from these suggestions. “We’re not going to pick someone that is not friendly,” she said. “I think girls come to our minds first.”

Granted, Kamp enjoys her work and encourages anyone who is interested in the job to apply.

infodesk

Photo by Garth Van Donselaar

Regarding friendliness, Dordt staff knows how important the Information Desk is and how, in a way, it is the face of Dordt. The Information Desk position is the only work-study position on campus President Hoekstra meets with at the beginning of the school year.

“I’m a first impressions person, and a vibes person,” Vande Vegte said. “If I step on a campus and I’m feeling like people aren’t looking me in the eye and people aren’t acknowledging I’m there, I don’t feel wanted here.” Vande Vegte also noted that meeting with President Hoekstra helps show the importance of the job.

So are men incapable of reaching that standard of friendliness and serving as the face of Dordt College?

No.

Eric Talsma is a 2017 graduate of Dordt who worked at the Information Desk his sophomore year. Unlike the majority of employees, Eric had to reach out to secure his position as he did not have an internal recommendation.

In terms of why historically few men have been employed at the Information Desk, Talsma draws a similarity to the maintenance department, which is primarily staff by men. “They’re just trying to pick a person who’s going to go into the role and do it really well,” he said.

Talsma said the main criteria Dordt looks for in applicants is professionalism while working and reliability, making sure students show up for their shifts or have them covered. Talsma said he had no problems locking in the work-study position, and that the application process went smoothly.

“Talk is cheap. People are saying things because they perceive it in a certain way, but I think they aren’t really truly looking at the details,” he said. “All of this is a very subjective matter as well, so perception is reality.”

 

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