It is inevitable that students lose things on campus. According to the campus police headquartered at UCrossing, where lost and found items often end up, they could be anything: school IDs, state IDs, laptops, bicycles, phones, phone chargers and even entire sets of car keys from the parking lot across Salem Street.
Regardless of what they lose, students say they are not sure what to do when something goes missing.
“I would put something out on the class Facebook page, to see if anyone noticed, or just cry; I don’t know,” said senior philosophy major Grace Callahan.
English and sociology junior Michelle Garcia Fresco echoed the same hopeless sentiment.
“I feel like once you lose something here, it’s gone forever,” she said.
But it does not have to be hopeless, according to the campus police. They say they are here to help students reunite with their valuables.
According to campus police, not every building at UMass Lowell has a lost-and-found, although lots of things tend to end up at the building’s front desk. Sometimes things may end up with janitors, and unfortunately some things may end up stolen.
But most items, including high-value items like watches and backpacks will eventually end up behind the dispatch desk at UCrossing, campus police say.
Items stay there for a year until they are put up for auction on a website similar to Craigslist, but the police say they want to get the items back to students before it comes to that. According to Jeff Connors, a campus resource officer, it starts with getting students more aware of what the policies are for lost items on the UMass Lowell campus.
The items vary considerably. The police get bicycles, Apple watches, electronics’ chargers, water bottles and even phones dropped off at UCrossing every year, Connors said. All this stuff, Connors said, sits behind the dispatch office until someone claims it. That is not as often as he would like. He says that the rate of returns, at best, is probably around 50 percent.
The only things the police do not take are food products and clothes if they can avoid it, he said. Because of the volume of stuff, Connors said he is always looking for ways to get students more aware about where their lost items are going.
In a nutshell, Officer Connors said that if students lose something they should first check the building where they lost it, check with janitors in the building and then fill out the online lost property form for the UMass Lowell police.
When students lose an item on campus, they can fill out the form online with their name and a description of the object, so they are immediately notified by police if and when it shows up at UCrossing, he said.
Connors implemented the form about a year ago, and so far, he says the feedback has been positive.
“I think the form is good,” Connors said. “A lot more people submit the form this year than last year.”
Connors says he hopes that these steps and the fairly new online form will make it easier for students when they lose something. Even if it is months from when it was found, any item that is brought to UCrossing will be there for an entire year, sometimes two. Connors said he hopes that more students will utilize the service and pick up their stuff, especially with the popularity of the lost property form.
However, sometimes things will still go unclaimed for years. Connors says that one of the more interesting things that students never recover are full backpacks.
“Funny thing is, we have had some that we cannot identify who it belongs to, and no one ever asks about it,” he said. “And it’ll have stuff in it.”