Navigating Campus Tech: Stories from the Help Desk Frontline

Author: Mag Shou
Mag is a student employee with Technology Services and is a senior at Illinois majoring in Communications.


Technology Services Help Desk Front Doors

The Technology Services Help Desk is a primary support team for users needing assistance with technical issues or inquiries related to university IT. Employees from the Tech Services Help Desk have shared rewarding experiences and interesting stories from their time helping users, highlighting the essential role this service fulfills within the academic and research communities. 

The Help Desk supports various services, such as email, classroom A/V, Wi-Fi, U of I Box, Canvas @ Illinois, and more. Its role is to ensure that users can leverage the full capability of services seamlessly and to address any difficulties. Everyone at the university can use the Help Desk, including undergraduate students, graduate/professional students, faculty/staff, and retirees.  

The Help Desk assists approximately 1,000 individuals on a normal week through both ticket requests and walk-ins. During busy seasons, the Help Desk has helped as many as 5,000 customers in a week. While the Help Desk is equipped to help with a variety of questions and issues, some of its most frequently asked questions include the following:   

  • Why isn’t my password working? 
  • How can I get my phone to connect to the Wi-Fi? 
  • I have just claimed my NetID as a newly admitted student, how can I access my e-mail account?  
  • Can you help locate missing e-mails from my inbox?  
  • Can I change my NetID since my name changed? 
  • Can you enable a mailbox for a shared departmental account? 
  • Can you update the primary SMTP address for a resource account? 
  • In what ways can I access my e-mail and account after I graduate?  
  • How can I log into Zoom using my NetID and password 
  • How do I connect my gaming device to the Wi-Fi? 
  • Can you help me connect my laptop to the system in the classroom I am teaching in? 

From the Help Desk Staff

Working at the Help Desk is often described as both challenging and rewarding. Kaisy Geonzon, an Associate Help Desk Specialist, said “We offer classroom support across over 350 classrooms, ensuring every day is full of unique challenges.”. Additionally, the team runs training for instructors on using AV technology, showcasing their dedication to promoting learning and development at the University of Illinois. 

Another Help Desk Specialist, April Dukes, notes the wide range of problems they solve, from simple password issues to complex technical challenges. The diversity provides ongoing learning opportunities in an ever-evolving technological landscape. This makes the Help Desk an ideal place for those looking to grow their IT careers. Dukes also appreciates the chance to meet diverse users, find joy in these interactions, and encounter remarkable people. 

Student workers at the Help Desk have also shared their experiences and the satisfaction they gain from their roles there. Aliza Faisal, a student consultant, shares a story from her experience in a Spanish class at the Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics Building (LCLB): “The projector unexpectedly malfunctioned, leaving the TA in a bind. I managed to troubleshoot the wireless connection on her Mac, promptly resolving the issue. The class’s warm applause was a testament to the communal spirit fostered by timely technical assistance,” Faisal said. 

Nic Hurst, another student consultant, narrates instances of the Help Desk’s wide-reaching impact. “In a notable two-week span, I was privileged to assist Jim Edgar, a former Secretary of State, with resetting his password. Shortly thereafter, I also provided support to an assistant of JB Pritzker. These experiences underscore our commitment to serving all community members, regardless of their position,” Hurst reflects. Furthermore, the Help Desk played a critical role in a recent campus security operation. The Help Desk team facilitated communication between the police and campus security personnel to locate an individual and a device, showcasing our vital role in campus safety. 

As a crucial component of Technology Services, the Help Desk is significantly linked to the quality of campus life. Jennifer Sturner, Manager of Integrated User Services and the Help Desk, highlighted the essence of the campus Help Desk: “Leading the campus Help Desk is a truly rewarding experience. We have the privilege of connecting with a diverse range of customers.” The support provided spans the entire campus, and relationships with service owners and administrators are emphasized as key to their service model.” 

Sturner continued, “At the heart of the Help Desk is our commitment to listening to feedback and always working towards continuous improvement. We want to deliver excellent support to each individual we assist. I am fortunate to lead an exceptional team whose dedication, expertise, and genuine desire to help others enable us to provide top-quality support to our campus community.”  

Image of 2 students working at the Technology Services Help Desk

How do I reach the Help Desk?

The Technology Services Help Desk has two physical locations, which both take walk-ins: 

  • Digital Computer Lab (DCL) Room 1211 
  • Illini Union Room 187

You can also contact the Help Desk by submitting a ticket.