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There are quite a few sections and departments at Economics and Business. We’re usually well-informed about the activities of our direct colleagues, but what kind of work are the other teams doing? This week we asked Ton Prosec, manager of the security firm Profi-Sec, and Willeke van der Wal, a receptionist in Building E.

What kind of work does the security staff do?

Ton: ‘At Profi-Sec our job is to ensure a safe environment for UvA and AUAS students and staff. Everything we do in the control room and in our surveillance and monitoring work focuses on the continuity of education. That includes activities such as opening and closing the buildings, resolving technical problems, responding to fire alarms and medical emergencies, and much more.

Willeke: ‘As a receptionist I’m responsible for welcoming students, staff, and guests. I answer questions, provide directions and sign out passes and keys. I’m also responsible for initiating procedures when an alarm sounds.

Ton: ‘We also provide security at various events such as the Introduction Week, Room for Discussion, or when politicians or officials visit.’

How many people work in the Roeterseiland team?

Ton: ‘We have a group of about 20 permanent employees. They work mostly at the REC, but sometimes they’re deployed at other UvA or AUAS locations.’

Has a lot changed in your work over the years?

Ton: ‘Very much so. We now look for technology-based solutions much more often, so there’s less personal contact. But security is more visible now. When we started, we mainly worked outside of office hours, and the receptionists were usually UvA employees. Security staff were responsible for closing up in the evenings and officers were on-site in the evening, nights and weekends. Now we’re on location more during the day and during the last few years, many of the UvA's reception desks are unmanned. To maintain the same level of security, the number of staff patrolling the campus has increased. There are also changes in terms of diversity. Right now, the security branch is a sector that properly reflects what we see in society.

Has your work changed due to COVID-19?

Willeke: ‘Definitely. It’s so quiet here, and I miss the students and staff. Normally, everything would be full, you’re busy helping people and time flies. The open contact we had is also gone because we have to enforce all kinds of rules due to the corona crisis. That can be difficult at times. We’re hoping the situation is resolved soon so we can do our work the way we’re used to doing it. I’m looking forward to seeing staff and students in Building E again.’