INVASION OF PRIVACY: Sharon O'Riley infuses campus life, concierge desk with charm

Sharon O'Riley, the smiling face many students have seen sitting at the concierge desk in the College Union, has been aiding the Geneseo community for the past 37 years.

Originally from Watertown, O'Riley made the trek across New York and began working in Rochester for three years in the Department of Agriculture. After her brief stint there, she took up employment with Geneseo working in the Alumni Office and after five years moved to the library where she worked for 20 years. Finally, 12 years ago, O'Riley ended up working in the College Union.

Of the many places that O'Riley has worked throughout the college, she likes the Union the best.

"The College Union is the best because of the activity," O'Riley said. "There is something going on all the time. It's remarkable."

She believes that Charles "Chip" Matthews has contributed greatly to the atmosphere and usage of the College Union.

"There isn't a day where he's not thinking what he can do to make it a better place," said O'Riley.

Besides aiding students in renting bikes, laptops and keys, O'Riley's duties span from raising publicity for student organizations and faculty to booking lobby tables and designing the wallboards. "It's very busy and hectic," said O'Riley of her many tasks.

When everyone's favorite concierge desk assistant is not helping students, she takes part in various activities. "I'm a very creative person. I love colors and design."

O'Riley enjoys making gift baskets and spending time at the gym, along with writing poetry. During the summer months, O'Riley spends her weekends swimming at various lakes in the surrounding the area.

She also enjoys decorating her house in themes, her favorite being the Irish Christmas theme. "I have an Irish tree with all Celtic ornaments. I'm the only one that I know of that does that," said O'Riley, who describes herself as 90 percent Irish and proclaims her favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day.

"I wear green for two weeks leading up to the holiday," she said.

O'Riley's involvement on campus also extends to the cheerleading team, which she advises, and the kickline team, which she has advised for five years.

"I absolutely love it," she said. "I was a cheerleader for six years in [middle and] high school. The kickline team is very artistic and inspirational to watch. They are precision dancers," said O'Riley.

As an advisor, she tries to get to games to take pictures, but also attends meetings and talks to participants on an individual basis.

Indeed, O'Riley loves the students and everything else about Geneseo.

"The students inject energy into everybody and make you feel young," she said.

"I love the spirit of Geneseo... I love it that I came here."