How Tufts Works: Counting heads

Tisch basement isn’t the most cheery place at night; the later it gets, the thicker the clouds of stress, frustration and exhaustion become. The only thing that breaks the unbearable silence is the soft footsteps of Aaron Lewis. As a Tisch Library security guard, Aaron is tasked with patrolling each level of the building between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Although it may seem as though he’s staring at you as he makes his rounds, he wants Tufts students to know that he is “just doing a head count.” Being aware of the number of people in the building helps Aaron and Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) react in the event of an evacuation.

As he describes his love of football and his experience as a running back, I am quickly convinced that he is the perfect man for the job. Juggling competitive sports and a rigorous course load in high school, Aaron mastered the art of managing multiple time-consuming commitments at once. This skill has come in handy especially these days as he balances two jobs and a demanding college schedule. His long shifts at Tisch, six-hour days at school, a food delivery gig and lengthy commutes leave him just a few hours to sleep each night.

His schedule is so packed that originally there was simply not enough time in the day to manage it. In order to work at Tufts and attend classes at Porter and Chester Institute, he has had to stretch his six-hundred-hour technical training over a longer period of time.

Waving off my amazement at his accomplishments, Aaron repeatedly insists that he is just a normal guy. “I’m pretty cut and dry,” he said.

Although this arrangement has forced him to compromise family time, his goal of becoming a master electrician drives him onward. After technical school, he plans to work his way up the strict hierarchy of electrical work to become a master in the field. This process consists of four years of apprenticeship and another four as a journeyman.

The dangerous nature of electrical work makes the extended learning process necessary. Fires, electric shock and explosions are just some of the potentially life-threatening hazards that occur on the job. As an apprentice, he will work closely with more experienced electricians to learn how to prevent and react to a wide variety of problematic situations.

A dedication to intricate handiwork runs in his family. Growing up, Aaron accompanied his father to work where he learned about carpentry and became interested in electrical work. Countless hours of training have gotten him to where he is now.

After graduating in the spring and taking a well-deserved vacation to Bora Bora, Aaron will be well on his way to turning his passion into a reality. In the meantime, Aaron says he truly enjoys working at Tufts. Above all, he appreciates the fact that students tend not to cause major security issues. As parting words, he offers a characteristically subtle seed of truth, “keep up the non-craziness.”