Students benefit from on-campus employment

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Cyrus Norcross | The Daily Wildcat Eniola Idowu (left) shows Amiya Fuller (right) where the knives are stored at Bagel Talk in PSU. They are each student workers prepping for the start of school.

University of Arizona students are some of the driving forces behind departments and positions all around campus. With jobs ranging from yoga instructors to office assistants, UA hires thousands of students to work in various positions across campus, according to the Office of Student Engagement and Career Development.

By being employed and involved in campus activities, services and experiences, students can learn new job skills as well as life skills to add to their resumes.

UA has job positions available to both incoming and returning students each semester, presenting the opportunity to be hired by university faculty and experience a professional-set job at the student level. 

When students go looking for on-campus employment, one of the first places to start is an online tool called Handshake, a job searching website created for students to easily connect with employers and find jobs and careers.

UA students are automatically set up with a Handshake account once they officially become a student at the university. Once a student signs into their account for the first time, the website is ready to begin searching and narrowing down specific job types and career interests for that student. 

“That’s where [students] can find work study positions, on-campus positions all the way up to externships, internships, full-time jobs,” said Mary Frances Kuper, associate director of career education at the Office of Student Engagement and Career Development. 

Many of the campus departments post directly onto Handshake to promote any open positions they currently have, according to Kuper.

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Irving Barrera (left) teaches Kathleene Long (right) how to prepare the food at the Den in PSU. Both are students who work part-time during the week.

Employers, like Alison McKearney, senior dining services attendant, will receive emails from Handshake about new students inquiring about a job and from there decide who will be best fit for the position available. 

“When I’m hiring, you don’t need experience necessarily, for a lot of people this will be their first job,” McKearney said. “I look for a clean resume. Make sure you are putting periods, marketing yourself in a professional way. That’s good.” 

Employers, such as those who are part of food service jobs in the Student Union Memorial Center, will also post about hiring at the store level. The managers post “now hiring” signs with contact information for students about a job, then they are expected to send those managers their school schedules and a resume or talk with those managers directly on-site as part of the job-gaining experience, according to McKearney.

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With on-campus jobs often hiring just student workers, many employers have to remember that students are going to school first, then being employees. Working an on-campus job provides flexibility with scheduling, hours and “easy accessibility” because of the jobs being located on campus, according to Kuper. 

“I think it helps students connect to campus, [to resources], meet other people, and connect with faculty and staff,” Kuper said. 

What students can take away from these on-campus positions is also an important factor in why having an on-campus job as a student is a meaningful experience, according to McKearney. 

“I know people aren’t working at the deli to work at the deli for the rest of their life,” McKearney said. “You’re not taking away sandwich making skills. I want [students] to take away time management, being professional with money and working as a team.”

Students who have on-campus jobs during their time at the university take away an experience that sets them up for a stricter workplace when they enter life after graduation, according to Kuper. 

While a student job is a small stepping stone in a college student’s future career path, the experience does help the student gain the knowledge and skills that they will need for future jobs, according to Kuper. 

Students also have access to job and career fairs that the Office of Student Engagement and Career Development hosts throughout the year. These fairs host many employers, both university and non-university, seeking students for small campus positions up to career or entry-level workforce positions. 

“I love working with students because I really do love the energy and excitement and the curiosity that most students bring to their positions,” Kuper said. “That idea of really being able to work with and coach a student and to help them develop professionally is something that is really meaningful to me as a supervisor.” 

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The UA runs on the work of the students and would not be the same without students working hard within the community, according to Kuper.

Hiring is still taking place within all departments across campus if students are still searching for employment, McKearney said, and job and career fairs are also taking place within the next couple months.


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