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Unsung Hero: Friendly face in late-night security guard

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Allison Broas-The Heights

Walking through O’Neill Library at night, it is difficult not to associate every desk and computer with a time of complete desolation. Finding your name scribbled under a desk evokes memories of that terrible midterm week or that paper that condemned you to three weeks of vending machine food and sponge baths in the fourth floor bathroom.

It brings back the feeling of rage when you discovered that Hillside was only open until 8 p.m. and if you wanted coffee or sustenance afterward, you would have to bag a snack or make the trek to one of the distant dining halls. Amidst your misery, there was one bright light in your evenings spent sequestered in the Quiet Zone of O’Neill: Tony Bianchi.

Frequent flyers in O’Neill will recognize Bianchi as the friendly and talkative security guard who roams the floors during his late-night shift.

A beloved member of the late-night library staff, Bianchi is a welcomed presence in O’Neill by his coworkers, never failing to come up with a joke or a story to cheer everyone up. His amiability is reflected in how he views his part-time work at O’Neill.

“I get to meet different people. They’re all so friendly, and the staff is great,” Bianchi said. “I just love walking around and asking how everyone’s day is. It doesn’t come with the job, but I like to make everyone’s day better if I can.”

A native Newtonite, Tony grew up locally and attended Newton North for high school. He then went on to major in criminal justice in school, which he has now translated into a job working for the District Court. With three young children, it is remarkable that Tony is able to balance all of these roles, but he does so wholeheartedly and swears that it is precisely the difference that enables him to do all three with such energy and care.

“The people are different here. It’s more of a college environment than a district court that I enjoy. This is more easygoing, so I always like coming here after a day of work,” he said.

He arrives to O’Neill every day with a big smile on his face, encouraging students and professors alike flock to him in times of need and guidance. He prides himself on saying hello to everyone – knowing that the warm reception he receives at Boston College is unlike that in the subways of downtown Boston where he carries himself similarly.

To Bianchi, the O’Neill staff is an untapped resource of people empathetic to the toils of a college student and eager to help in any way possible. He humbly strives to be one of those people, as he recalls his undergraduate experience filled with many days spent in the library. He appreciates the pressure that the students he meets are under.

“We’re all in this together. I just try to offer the students words of encouragement to help them along,” he said. “I love seeing the regulars—the organic chemistry kids especially stand out to me. I always recognize them.”

One of the regulars, Kelly Quinn, LSOE ’13, cannot say enough about the positive effect Bianchi has on the late- night crowd at O'Neill.“

Tony possesses a great optimistic attitude when walking around the library,” she said. “It’s always a nice break from my work when he stops to say a friendly hello.”

More often that not, these students receive more than a friendly hello. Bianchi’s passion for traveling often comes up in conversation, as the Sierra Club map behind the desk in O’Neill displays the National Parks that he and his family have visited. He lists a cross-country drive to Montana as one of his favorite trips, citing Yellowstone and Glacier National Park as his favorite parks. He’ll likewise happily indulge in you in adorable stories about his kids and growing up in Massachusetts.

While his job mandates him to crack down on Chinese food deliveries and blaring music, Bianchi admits to enjoying the unspoken duties of his job far more—making long, dark nights in O’Neill a little bit brighter for everyone with a smile and a good joke.

So if you find yourself in O’Neill one night mourning your workload and solitude, never fear. Keep your head up, because you’ve got a friend in Tony Bianchi.

By Allie Broas
The Heights

Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012

Updated: Sunday, November 4, 2012 19:11