Lost and Found
Lost & Found
New Software Launched to Streamline Lost & Found Reporting and Handling at UQAM
By Pierre-Etienne Caza
MARCH 22, 2018
The Safety and Prevention Department (SPS) Department of UQAM (University of Quebec in Montreal) handles lost and found articles in Room A-M865.
Every day, dozens of lost property items are turned over to UQAM’s SPS Department. “It goes without saying that along with computers, laptops, wallets, coats and USB drives, umbrellas are among the most common turned over articles. The list even includes passports!” says Louis Mathurin. The systems analyst with the SPS Department recently coordinated a project to launch a new online form to streamline lost and found reporting and handling. It is hoped that this initiative will make the lives of students and SPS agents alike a little easier.
The new form is divided into sections providing details such as the user's identification information, a description of the lost article and the location in which the object was last seen. The most notable new feature is a section that lets users define precisely their lost article. In addition, the form includes drop-down lists made up of twenty or so options to select the relevant type of lost property (e.g. electronic device, sporting item, piece of jewellery, book, tool, ID, purse, school supplies, etc.). The user also has the ability to define the appropriate sub-type (e.g. the type of electronic device), as well as the article’s brand, colour and condition. “Upon saving the form, an analysis is performed automatically by our software to determine if the information given to us is consistent with our files, says Louis Mathurin. If a match is found, the user is notified by phone or email and asked to report to the department to ascertain whether or not the lost property is actually theirs.”
UQAM’s Lost & Found items are kept and handled by the SPS Department, in Room A-M865. “All lost articles from Pierre-Dansereau Sciences Complex and the Sports Centre are held at the security station (at the entrance of PK Hall) over a one to two-week period (the first instinct any student would get after losing an article would be to check with the station), after which they are transferred to Room A-M865,” explains Louis Mathurin.
Photo: Nathalie St-Pierre
“Any lost property that does not find its owner after a period of 90 days is stored and then turned over to non-profit organizations like Le Chaînon or the Maison du Père,” says Armel Dakpogan (The IT technician with the SPS Department assumes responsibility for the implementation of the software.) “Lost amounts of cash are held by UQAM’s consolidated funds. Student ID cards are retained in Room A-M865 for 24 hours before being turned over to the university’s card issuance counter in Room DS-M215. The same is true for OPUS cards, though they are eventually handed to the Société de transport de Montréal (STM). “
Collaboration with the STM
The new lost article reporting form was developed with the software used by the Société de transport de Montréal. “We met with the STP, and their team authorized us to use the property categories they had developed,” explains Louis Mathurin.
This new form will alleviate the task of SPS agents, who often end up as front-line contact for students reporting lost property. “Instead of sending students directly to Room A-865, agents will now have easy remote access to the system and verify possible matches on the spot,” says Armel Dakpogan.
“The new system ensures better traceability of the reports and follow-ups as well as a greater degree of security; SPS agents must, at all times, authenticate themselves,” says Marie Leclerc, Prevention Consultant and responsible lead for the launch of the new service for the UQAM community.
Stickers were placed on security station doors throughout the campus to inform students and personnel members on what's been done and the existence of the new form.