Section: News

Students balance employment

Students balance employment

By Erich Kaletka

On-campus employment is a fixture on most college campuses, including Kenyon’s. According to Associate Director of Career Development Leslie Harding, there are 755 students employed by the College at this time — of those, 240 are participating in a federal work-study program job of some sort. Work-study is part of a financial aid package and is meant to help supplant the cost of being in college, according to the Kenyon website. This number only includes students who have been approved for jobs payed by the College and does not include students who work for establishments such as Wiggin Street Coffee, the Village Inn, the Kenyon Inn or any other possible employers in Gambier or Mount Vernon.

Out of the 755 student employed by the College, according to Harding, there are 161 unique positions these students fill. These positions range from serving as teaching assistants to being tour guides for the Office of Admissions. Indeed, Admissions employs nearly a quarter (175 of the 755) of all the student employees on campus, who, in addition to guiding 

tours, can work as office assistants, overnight hosts and senior interviewers — also known as admissions fellows — according to numbers supplied by Admissions staff members.

There are still many other — specifically, 156 — possibilities for employment across campus. It is even possible to hold multiple positions. For example, Manjul Bhusal Sharma ’16 works as a manager at the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC), a soundtech and a Student Affairs intern. However, Bhusal Sharma, who is an international student, can only hold on-campus positions. “The law is that international students can only be paid by the institutions they are attending,” Bhusal Sharma said. He gave an example of the student-run Nite Bites Café: “Internationals can’t work at Nite Bites because it isn’t owned by the College, so they could work for the experience, but legally they wouldn’t be allowed to be paid.” However, the process for international students who want to be employed by the College is, for the most part, the same as for other students, with the addition that they must apply for a Social Security number after getting a job.

For domestic students, sometimes procuring a campus job is as easy as simply asking. That’s how Meera White ’18 got her job at the Office of Admissions. White, a work-study participant, said that she didn’t have to go through any extra hoops to get her job. “I didn’t have to fill out any additional paperwork beyond the normal things required by the CDO for student employment,” she said.

In terms of balancing her duties as an employee and as a student, White found the system accommodating. “It’s almost like another class, but I’m allowed to take off if I have too much homework,” she said. Being employed, White said, “helps to balance my life because it allows me to get my mind off of homework and other academic things.” She works two hours a day, four days a week and said that while working can take time away from other activities, “the fact that I’m getting paid serves as a good incentive.”

Scheduling is usually one of the more difficult part of student employment according to Jim Huang, manager of the Bookstore, which employs 11 Kenyon students. When asked about the quality of work the students do, and if he wishes he could hire more Huang says “In abstract, yes, but in practice, no. I think we’re right about where we need to be [in terms of number of student employees]. … We love having them here and we think they add a perspective that we adults don’t have. We also think they represent the College well, as they can be a lot more in-depth and responsive to outsiders’ questions about the College than most of the other employees can.”

All Bookstore employees are paid at the first of three pay levels: the three pay-levels are $7.95 per hour, which is Ohio’s minimum wage, $9.07 per hour and $10.22 per hour. Each level has different qualifications and duties. First-level jobs require mostly manual work and have the highest level of supervision, while higher levels involve more technical skills and experience and allow for more autonomy, according to descriptions of each pay grade provided by the CDO. Bhusal Sharma, for example, earns $10.22 per hour for his third-level position as a KAC manager and $9.07 per hour in his two second-level jobs.

Students interested in finding employment on campus can visit the Career Development Office in lower level of Gund Commons, call their office at (740) 427-5165 or browse the CDO-hosted online system Symplicity.

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