From Student to Safety Officer

Aaron Hodge ’14 never anticipated working for Colby-Sawyer College. A media studies major from Colchester, Vt., Hodge is once again back on campus, this time in a much different role: campus safety officer.

After graduating from the college, Hodge launched himself into a variety of roles including making snow at a ski mountain for four years, working at a golf course, earning an EMT license and serving as a volunteer firefighter for a few years before going full time in 2020, before the pandemic began. After experiencing burnout in early 2021, he ventured into working for a land enhancement business. Though he enjoyed it, it took a toll on his body as he climbed trees frequently.

While taking on these various jobs, he continued to involve himself in acting, theater and film projects, particularly community theater and personal art projects. This balance allowed him to find a happy medium between work and a fulfilling lifestyle. After moving back to New London with his wife Erin Bennett ’16, and living with his in-laws to wait for the housing market to cool off, he resumed his search and was focused on looking for something that would keep him active in the outdoors. Initially, he applied to work on campus as a groundskeeper after walking to campus to see the jobs posted. He also applied to work for Campus Safety, believing his background in EMT work would be helpful. He was offered, and accepted, the position of campus safety officer at Colby-Sawyer.

The return to campus has been an interesting one for him. Most of the physical elements of campus are the same, but the make-up of the student body and the academic landscape have changed. When he attended, the focus was on liberal arts programs, and the students were more artsy.

Hodge has found that the transition between his roles as student and employee has not been too difficult due to the distance in time between the two. He also always enjoyed reading and learning, so returning to an academic environment has been fun. Hodge works the evening shifts and enjoys that the primary task is walking around campus.

Hodge says that his experience as a student helps him understand where students are coming from and how they view the department. His own interaction with former safety officer Mark Wildermann changed the way he approaches the job. Wildermann was caring and considerate to students in a paternal way. Hodge sees the role as a way to interact with students in a non-combative way. He says that at the end of the day, the primary focus is on keeping students safe and making sure they are respectful of one another.