From the library and Founders to the ARC, student employees keep this campus running. No matter the department, student employees remain at the heartbeat of the university’s operations. The Harre Union, for example, currently employs around 70 students across its different divisions.
“In the Harre Union, we provide opportunities for student employment in a variety of areas, and those include the Welcome Desk, our building managers, event services, BB’s (which is the games room), mail services [and more],” said Thad Doyle, Director of Union and Student Life Operations. “We provide a variety of student employment opportunities in those different functional areas, and those are meant to provide students a hands-on learning experience that executes operational functions of our building.”
In terms of keeping not only the Union but all buildings on campus functioning, Doyle expresses that the spread and strength of student employment is far-reaching.
“On all college campuses, student employment is a backbone of the operations because they’re providing students a tangible employment experience while also meeting the needs of an institution in functional areas all across campus,” Doyle said. “So, not only here in the Union, but obviously there’s Resident Assistants that are working in [residential] life, there are students that are working in athletics to help execute events in the ARC, there’s students working in the Fitness Center to help execute programs there, students working in the library, students working in dining … A majority of facets of campus have a student employment opportunity.”
Luke Whiteman, Assistant Director of the Career & Alumni Network, also promotes on-campus employment as a way for students to see the crossover between their academics and their future career.
“I think the on-campus jobs are extremely important for students, if not only for just building time management,” Whiteman said. “You also learn a lot of skills in your on-campus job that you can apply to your academics and skills in your academics that you can apply back to your on-campus job, which only will help you in the future in gaining a career and being successful in your first career.”
While on-campus jobs add to a resume, this skill-building that university employment fosters applies to many areas of life.
“All jobs aren’t necessarily parallel to your future career goals, but they’re probably providing you some transferable skills that are allowing you to polish or hone those while you are a student,” Doyle said. “Leadership skills, time management, communication, conflict resolution, critical thinking—you’re going to use those whatever you end up doing [in a career].”
Searching for an on-campus job in the spring semester does present its own challenges, however.
“The tricky part with it being [the] spring semester is that most positions hire for the full academic term, which would [require applications] during the summer or early fall,” Whiteman said. “Obviously as positions open up [places that are hiring] can go ahead and post those as they come, but it isn’t a guarantee that positions will open up … typically, employers on campus do fill those positions pre-semester.”
Luckily, there’s an application on the Valpo website that many branches of campus use for their application process.
“There’s a uniform application that a variety of areas are a part of, which is off of our website, and that has opportunities available through our department, athletics, admissions, the VUCA, etc.,” Doyle said. “So when you click on the form, which is off our student employment link off our website, it shows you all those areas, but then there’s [also] areas outside of that that aren’t listed … meaning there’s some academic areas who secure their own students for whatever purpose—[those department’s forms] aren’t going to be on there.”
Handshake, managed by the Valpo Career Center, is another way to find employment on campus.
“In terms of employment, our office doesn’t actually coordinate any employment on campus, we’re more of a knowledge hub. So, offices and departments that are hiring for students could reach out to us … and we do manage Handshake,” Whiteman said.
As opposed to off-campus jobs in the Valpo community or elsewhere, working at the university provides the benefit of scheduling flexibility.
“I think it’s the convenience for most students that you’re not having to hop in the car and go drive somewhere else to a job or something. The ability to work on campus and work a two-hour shift and then go to class and then maybe work again is much more convenient. Most other places off-campus you’re probably working a three or four hour shift, and you’re not going to have that flexibility probably,” Doyle said. “I feel like we provide greater flexibility … we understand that students are students first, and we want to support them [while] also providing them those skills to continue to develop as a responsible employee regardless of what they’re doing.”
This flexibility in scheduling then allows students to work many hours a week on top of their normal course load and other responsibilities, as well as an aspect of community they can tap into that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
“Most of our students work maybe two or three times a week,” Doyle said. “Some may work a little more, some might work a little less, but most of our students enjoy the opportunity to have an on-campus job that can help work around their class schedule and let them create community on campus in a different environment from their academics or maybe the residence hall in which they live.”
Student employment, essential to the success of this campus, remains an advantageous opportunity for students and a stronger sense of community throughout the university on a daily basis.
“I think student employment is a great opportunity. We value and appreciate our student employees, and we wouldn’t be able to operate without them, so the ability to have students find meaningful employment on campus creates a greater affinity to Valpo, helps with our retention efforts collectively and provides a greater quality of student experience, which I think, at the end of the day, is everybody’s goal,” Doyle said. “We are appreciative and thankful for the opportunities we have to have so many students that work in our department.”
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