The James E. Foy Information Desk has been answering questions 24 hours a day about everything from Auburn football scores to the number of marshmallows it takes to fill Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Dean Foy founded the information hotline, 344-844-4244, as an information line for students back in the 1950’s, long before Google and Internet phones.
The hotline has been grown to generate attention nationwide. Oprah Winfrey featured the number in “O, The Oprah Magazine,” and Matt Lauer has called the information desk live on NBC’s “The Today Show.”
Anna Roberts, a senior call supervisor at the Foy Information Desk, said that the information desk now receives a majority of its calls from people across the nation.
“Lately we’ve been getting a lot of little kids calling for teen heart throb Justin Bieber’s phone number,” said Roberts. “His phone number is not listed but I’ve given out his address for fan mail a ton.”
Operators at the desk are required to attempt to answer every question they receive, and allot about three to four minutes for each call. The hotline occupies callers on hold for the next available operator with a recording of interesting Auburn University facts and achievements. The desk has five supervisors that alternate shifts throughout the day and night.
Although the desk has moved from its old home in the Foy Student Union to a new location on the second floor of the new student center, the desk maintains its title as the James E. Foy Information Desk.
“A lot of people want answers to questions like “how many Oreos will stack up to the moon?” said Roberts. “We have a database of random trivia like that so that’s what we’ll tell them, but for questions like that I feel like people are just calling for a laugh.”
Roberts said one of the most memorable calls she’s received was a woman from Pennsylvania during the presidential election.
“She wanted us to read a lot of Obama’s speeches,” said Roberts. “I’d try to give her a synopsis, but she would just keep calling back to get more and more of the same question.”