What’s Lost Can Be Found

Photo by Greta Nagy

Once your five thousand dollar Rolex watch has been lying around in the lost and found for over ninety days, it will be donated to a charity with no further questions asked. One might think that their item was stolen when in reality it was waiting to be picked up at the lost and found.

Randy Burba, the head of Public Safety said student belongings that are unclaimed by the end of the semester are turned over to a charity. Electronic objects, such as cell phones or iPads are turned over to Chapman’s IS&T office and all the information is erased before they are sent off to a charity.

Casa Teresa, The Friendly Center and Mary’s Kitchen are some of the charities the items are donated to,” Burba said. Since January, eighty misplaced objects wait patiently to be claimed, some of them being on the pricier side.

“Occasionally laptops, phones, and cameras are turned in; those would be probably the most expensive items,” Burba said. Some very expensive smoking pipes have been turned in as well.”

Burba said each year Chapman’s lost and found accumulates hundreds of items per semester and the most common ones are everyday necessities.

“Sweatshirts, water bottles, flash drives, keys, and sunglasses are probably the most common items,” Burba said.

Burba estimated two hundred items were turned into the lost and found this past semester and already eighty have been brought in since the beginning of January.  

Associate professor of Sociology, Dr. Paul Apodaca said he speculates the reason why so many items are unaccounted for is that it’s an indication that students’ are very materialistic since there are so many things lost in the first place.

“Value equals wealth, so this is an indication of a wealthy culture that is materialistically oriented and has little fear of not being able to replace what has been lost,” said Apodaca.

On the contrary, Apodaca compares Chapman to a University with less of an abundant lost and found.

“This may be an indication of students’ that are less materialistic, as there are fewer things to be left behind. It may show a greater value for fewer things,” Apodaca said.

Burba said the lost and found is advertised through Chapman’s website and can be found in the Public Safety office and individuals usually don’t check the lost and found, thus, suffering at the cost of their lost item being given up.

Lydia Mckee, sophomore studio arts major, said she found the lost and found especially helpful when she lost something valuable to her.

“I was on campus late last semester and after my last class, I was excited to get back home. I forgot my water bottle in my art classroom and I was so upset because it was a swell bottle that I just bought. I went to the lost and found, described it to them, and was able to get it back,” Mckee said.

Photo by Greta Nagy

Burba said the lost and found policy permits students’ from entering the area where the items are stored. We’d love to give you more details about the contents of the lost and found but Public Safety prevents us from getting a gander at the actual items. Individuals are not able to claim an item from the lost and found without describing it. Every item is logged in with a specific tag number and the object’s final disposition is tracked.

“The system is run very professionally. Every effort to contact the owner is made in an attempt to get their property back to them,” Burba said.

Chapman and the Public Safety office, do not provide a campus-wide email or alert reminding students’ to come claim their lost items,” Burba said.

Photo by Greta Nagy

“I am all for a method that might get more items back to their owner, I am just not sure an email system is the answer,” said Burba. “People are overrun with emails as it is, and inundating everybody with emails would probably be more annoying to most than helpful,” Burba said.

Although Burba thinks sending emails would do more harm than good, Mckee believes alerting students’ of items in the lost and found through a recurring schoolwide email, more items would be returned to their rightful owners.

“If it’s an item of a certain amount of value I think the student deserves the chance to get it back because they might not even know its in there,” Mcgee said.

Randy Burba said the percentage of people who actually lose things is quite minuscule compared to the larger student population. Unfortunately, not all the items are returned to their rightful owners.

“We make every effort to get items back but sometimes we have no way of knowing who they belong to. I would prefer that everything got returned to the original owner but that is not always possible,” Burba said.

Greta Nagy

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