Lost and Found: How it works here

When it comes to reuniting lost items with their owners, Iowa Staters are a helpful lot. They'll pluck a mitten off a sidewalk and hang it on a tree. They'll post a found laptop on the lost and found site. They'll even find a way to hand-deliver a wallet holding several hundred dollars to a young man in Singapore.

Norm Hill, director of central stores, says Iowa State faculty and staff play a key role in getting belongings back to their owners. Hill, who oversees long-term storage of found items on campus, offers these guidelines.

First stop: Nearby department

Generally, the first stop for a found object is the nearest building in the vicinity. Most departments or units should keep lost objects for 10 days, then send them to central stores, 195 General Services Building. When forwarding items to central stores, include the name of the forwarding unit, where the item was found and, if known, when. Officials in high-volume areas such as Hilton Coliseum, Stephens Auditorium, Fisher Theater, Scheman Building, Alumni Center, residence halls, and recreation services, may choose to retain lost articles for longer periods.

Securing valuables

Hold valuable items, such as rings, watches, wallets and electronic devices, in a secure place. If you're uncomfortable holding an item, you may forego the 10-day wait and send it to central stores immediately.

Sample entry
Found: Gray watch
Gray watch found near Communications Building Nov. 29. Stop by 2040 Communications to identify and claim.

Using the lost and found website

Like individuals, departments can use the lost and found website to seek owners of lost property. You'll need an ISU Net-ID to post a "found" note on the website. It's wise to provide a general description, then require the claimant to further identify the object.

If campus visitors contact you for help in finding an item, it's OK to post a "lost" item on the website on their behalf.

Unclaimed property

Most items forwarded to central stores will be held for at least 90 days. Valuables will be held for 12 months. After the holding period, most unclaimed property will be sold at an ISU surplus public sale. The exceptions are unclaimed cell phones, flash drives and other portable electronic storage devices. These items, which are likely to contain individuals' personal information, are dismantled and recycled through an approved recycler. Abandoned bicycles are held by ISU police for 90 days, then sent to ISU surplus for sale.

Busy lost and found centers

Among the busiest lost and found areas on campus are:

  • Hilton Coliseum, guest service desk near lower west entrance
    Items lost during athletics events at Hilton Coliseum or Jack Trice Stadium are turned in to the guest services office (enter on Hilton's west side, under the pedestrian walkway). Most lost items are maintained at the office for about six months and then turned over to central stores. Valuables, such as keys, phones, glasses, wallets, IDs and jewelry, are kept longer. Contact: ereardon@iastate.edu, 515-294-7319.
  • Scheman Building, first floor lobby
    The desk on the second level of Scheman is the lost-and-found area for:
    • The Scheman Building
    • Fisher Theater
    • Stephens Auditorium (During a Stephens event only, lost and found items may be reported, turned in or claimed at the guest services desk on Stephens' main floor)
    • Non-athletics events at Hilton, such as all-state music activities
    Most items are kept at Scheman for 30 days. Valuables are retained longer. Contact: ereardon@iastate.edu, 515-294-7319.
  • Hotel Memorial Union, front desk
    Items turned into this lost-and-found center are kept about a month before they are moved on to central stores. But hotel staff manage to reunite about 40 percent of lost items with their owners in that first month. Cell phones are an oft-lost item, and a call to "mom" usually does the trick. Contact: 6-6848 or drop by the hotel desk.
  • Beyer Hall, Lied Center, State Gym
    Lost items are kept in the designated area for each building for two weeks. After that, items of value, such as IDs, credit cards and jewelry, are sent to central stores. Other items are discarded.
  • Residence halls
    Lost items are sent to the hall desks and recorded. All unclaimed items at the end of the year are sent to central stores.