Criminal justice and athletics work together to create Event Staff

Adam Jack became the new athletic director July 15 along with retaining his current position as the head of the criminal justice department. He’d had an idea for more “vocational opportunities” in the back of his head for a while and the opportunity to make it happen finally presented itself in his new role.

For Jack, the criminal justice program has grown so much over the past nine years, he even wagered to say that it has doubled. As of the Fall 2019 semester, Jack estimated there to be over 170 students in the major.

In his first semester as athletic director, Jack decided to combine criminal justice with athletics.  Those who have attended a football game or other sporting event this year might’ve noticed something that hasn’t been there before. Students sporting khaki pants, radios and black t-shirts with the words “event staff” on them. It’s an official, real world experience for these students. Along with working at on-campus events, the students will also have opportunities to work out in the community. 

“The borough police have reached out to us as well,” Jack said. “The event staff is going to work trick or treat night here in town, walk around, make sure the kids are getting across the street. They’re gonna work the Halloween parade on [Oct. 24] too.”

Jack said students are learning and honing many important skills to their jobs because they have to work with the public. They dress professionally—sporting official jackets for when the weather starts getting colder—and most importantly, they deal with problems that arise throughout the event.

Jack said despite looking like security, the students are  strictly event staff.

“If we need help,” he said, “there’s some type of security issue, then we get on the radio and they call the game day manager […] and they have access to security.”

The event staff program is open to all students either in the criminal justice major and to students taking criminal justice classes like forensic science majors and forensic accounting. Jack said the program is open to all of those students, as long as they go through training. As of Sept. 27, a total of 57 students have been already been trained. 

The team leaders are one of the many aspects of this program that have left Jack impressed with the dedication of his students. Senior Alexis Taylor was the team leader at Waynesburg’s first home football game when Jackets hosted the Bethany Bison.

“She did such a phenomenal job,” Jack said.  “[She] set a great example for the rest of the students and other team leaders. And that’s what I expect from upperclassmen.”

Jack expects the event staff to become more and more requested for on-campus and community events as the year goes on. 

The equipment and dress requirements for the event staff is an example of what the “Day of Giving” money can do to benefit the students across campus. Those donations help to facilitate funds for students to have the “best opportunities” at Waynesburg.

“I really appreciate the administration here at WU for supporting us so well,” Jack said. “We’ve been really blessed with support from the provost and the President. I cannot thank the students enough for just signing up and coming out and getting out of their comfort zones and talking to people.”

According to Jack, part of what’s wrong with criminal justice today is that people who are in law enforcement are perceived to be adversarial.

“We’re trying to break that mold by getting smiling faces,” Jack said. “I always tell them you’re out there shaking hands and kissing babies. We want to break down that barrier where people think that security personnel are adversarial. We’re not, we want them to have a great time at these events but to be safe and [courteous] while doing so.”