Trey Tucker's job is to give answers.

Need directions to Auburn University's campus? Want to know the life span of a lady bug? George Washington's birthday? How many toothpicks it takes to fill Jordan-Hare Stadium?


"It takes 3.7 trillion toothpicks," Tucker says.

With such facts at his fingers, Tucker is one of about 80 student employees at Auburn's Foy Student Union who take on a variety of questions from campus callers, as well as anyone else who dials 334-844-4244.

"It started out as just an information line, but it's branched out over the years," says Tucker, 22, a junior majoring in exercise science.

The line -- which is open 24 hours a day on weekdays and closes at midnight Friday through Sunday -- has received calls from as far away as Europe and from troops in Iraq.

It is unclear exactly when the service, which began in the 1950s, went from providing routine campus information -- professors' phone numbers, registration information, etc. -- to also answering trivia questions and offering homework assistance, university spokesman David Granger says. He remembers trying to stump the operators when he was a student in the late 1970s.

Student supervisor Titus Pritchett, 24, who has worked at the information center for four years, believes the expansion occurred over the years as more computers entered the student center and employees became more savvy with Internet searches.

Whatever the reason, the information line has grown increasingly popular with new students and alumni alike.

"I've always been told they have to answer any question you ask," says Amanda Reeder, 20, a sophomore in accounting who has the number on her cell phone's speed dial.

"I hear stories all the time with people who call them with random questions. If you ask them how many Oreos it takes to fill the stadium, they have to tell you," she says, adding that she frequently calls the number for movie showing times and driving directions when she is out of town.

Tucker says that during the daytime, the questions start out pretty normal, such as when is the deadline to drop classes? When do football tickets go on sale? When does the library close?

"But usually when it gets later, the crazier calls start," he says.

Some of the weirder ones have ranged from people wanting to know the average weight of human waste to how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

"Eight-hundred and five cords," Tucker says smugly. "We actually figured that out."

Indeed, the student workers at "the Foy" have taken it upon themselves to build a database of random information, should anyone want to know how many gallons of water could fill their football stadium. The answer is 38,750 gallons.

Pritchett says there is no secret to the staff's wisdom. Aside from their Foy database of Auburn trivia, staff members use the Internet search engines of sports, entertainment, news and educational Web sites that are available to everyone.

Perhaps their secret is that they are not as lazy to look up stuff as their callers. But the employees welcome the dial-ins, Pritchett says, adding that the variety of questions has forced staff members to hone their computer skills and speed.

It usually takes them less than two minutes to answer a question, though he concedes that some questions can stump them for as long as five minutes. Accuracy is a far greater concern for the group.

"We have a lot of smart kids who work here and try to figure things out, and 99 percent of the time, they're accurate and people trust their answers," Pritchett says. "We're really good -- not to toot our own horn, but it's good to help people out."

Pritchett says he recently got a call from Britain asking him to convert 20 dollars into euros. It was a proud moment, though a call from a soldier in Iraq needing a relative's address was just as memorable.

Unfortunately, says Tucker, not all calls are that satisfying for the employees.

"People try to stump us, and it gets annoying," he says, describing how many sports buffs call just to test the staff on answers the callers already know.

Some students, such as Matt Laney, 20, a junior majoring in software engineering, call just for fun. An example: How many licks does it really take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?

"Me and my friends call them sometimes when we're sitting around bored," Laney says.

Tucker has also had to dole out advice to some students who rely on the Foy staff for personal help.

"One girl called me asking about how often she should change the oil in her car. She was arguing with me that it was every 50,000 miles. . . . I spent the next 20 minutes explaining engines to her," he says.

But the staff draws the line at cheating on homework.

Tucker says if they suspect the caller is asking for answers on class assignments, staff members will try to refer the student to a good source of information without giving away the answer.

"If they call and ask about who is the antagonist in 'Gulliver's Travels,' it's obvious that's not something you sit around and talk about with your buddies."

Trey Tucker, 22, right, and about 80 other students assist callers at the information desk of the Foy Student Union in Alabama's Auburn University.