Dorm geek, unsung hero


At a growing number of colleges and universities, students serve as the first line of technical support on campus. The role of the residential computing consultant (RCC) is not new, but is becoming increasingly common in an institution's approach to dealing with the range of computer problems that students regularly face. At Stanford University, about 100 students serve as RCCs, living in the dorms and responding to service calls from students. They earn about $180 per week and undergo a four-day training course. Problems range from the mundane to highly complex, requiring consultation with professional IT staff on campus.Brandon Smith, an RCC at Stanford, noted that most college students are prone to panic when technology doesn't work and that "they're not very patient." Jennifer Ly, manager of Stanford's Residential Computing, said that although many of the RCCs are computer science majors, others are not pursuing technical studies. "We seek someone with an appetite for problem solving who can provide excellent customer service," she said, "and who is willing to learn."

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