Student workers find community in jobs on and off campus

Many students have shared that their work allows them to create a community outside of class.

by Arizbeth Rojas | 08/31/22 05:00


This article is featured in the Freshman 2022 special issue.

Although the college experience demands special attention from academics, many students also balance part-time jobs on campus, ranging from undergraduate counseling to working at Dartmouth Dining facilities.

Since its inception in 1994, the Office of Student Employment has assisted students seeking employment opportunities on campus and locally. While office resources are available to all students, some job postings are work-study only, meaning they satisfy the work-study component included in a college’s financial aid programs. student. Many student workers have also used Jobnet Query, an online database of jobs maintained by the bureau, to filter the jobs they are eligible for and eventually find employment.

Collis Cafe student Carly Walther-Porino ’25 said she found her job through a friend who recommended Collis as a good place to work and found the listing on Jobnet. Likewise, Alejo Rincon ’25 said he heard that Novack Cafe was paid well, so he applied during last winter vacation and joined the staff during the winter term.

“Dartmouth Dining for one is a good source of employment. But if you’re interested in something else, go out and ask or try to network with your friends and see what they’ve heard about,” Kaitlyn Anderson ’24 said.

In January, student workers at Dartmouth Dining Services spear the Student Worker Collective in Dartmouth, a union which sought voluntary recognition by the College – as President Phil Hanlon rejected later that month. According some students, the push for a recognized student union led to changes in College policy, such as the implementation of a 50% pay raise. At the end of March, student workers at Dartmouth Dining unanimously voted to recognize the SWCD.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also cast a spotlight on student workers and working conditions, such as increased exposure to COVID-19, stagnating wages and a labor shortage in the Upper Valley, which have all created frustration for many student workers. Last October, the College announcement that the minimum wage for on-campus jobs would be increased to $11.50 per hour.

Besides Dartmouth Food Services, some students find employment in other departments on campus, such as the Hinman Mail Center. Anderson said she also used Jobnet to find employment with Hinman. After sending initial emails to Hinman, she then went in person, where other workers gave her a “sneak peek” of the job.

“All I do at Hinman is pretty much stack boxes and scan people inside and out,” Anderson said. “It’s really easy for me, and I like that part.”

Mollie Berry ’25 said she used Jobnet in January to apply for her position as an undergraduate counselor for freshmen. Following an online application with short written responses and an interview, Berry said she was notified she had landed the job by email in the spring.

“I always knew I wanted to help first-graders transition to Dartmouth, so that’s what drew me to this role,” Berry said.

According to Berry, some of the features of his job as UGA include covering 80-block meal plan expenses, guaranteed housing, and a quarterly payment of $2,000.

Walther-Porino said the “best part” of her job was having a community outside of her classes.

“The school can be quite isolating with just students and faculty, but you get a sense of the real world outside of the Dartmouth bubble while working,” Walther-Porino said. “Even though I’m at work, I feel like I’m removed from the stress of school because at work I can talk about normal things, not just school.”

In Collis, Walther-Porino said she was responsible for running the register, cleaning tables and restocking the condiment station at closing time. Likewise, Rincon said that at Novack he takes people’s orders, makes drinks and stocks snacks. Both Rincon and Walther-Porino said they enjoyed the social aspect of working during the lunch rush and seeing familiar faces in the queue.

“I’ve definitely made friends with people I don’t think I’ve otherwise seen on campus,” Rincon said.

Rincon said that as a student-athlete on the men’s cross-country team, he is unable to rack up as many hours as other student workers. Walther-Porino also said she imagined it would be difficult to balance school and work, but found her hours at Collis “flexible”. For example, Walther-Porino said she was able to work around her mid-term schedule.

“You could never do that with an off-campus job — they just wouldn’t understand,” Walther-Porino said.

Annabel Everett ’25, an employee of the Nest Cafe in Hanover, said that although her schedule allowed her to work around her classes, she found it difficult to balance the work when she had to close at 3 p.m., but had a 3A course starting at 3:30. pm the same day.

Everett said part of the appeal of working off campus includes interacting with Hanover residents.

“One of my favorite parts is that there are a lot of people from the city,” Everett said. “I like regulars because I feel like I’m getting to know Hannover as a city more than a university.”

Anderson also said the number of days a week she works depends on her course load for the term. For example, Anderson said her classes during the summer term were on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so she worked Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Walther-Porino added that she initially thought she didn’t have enough time to work, but her experience at Collis showed her otherwise.

“You can fit the work into your schedule — sometimes it takes a little time to budget, but you can do it,” Walther-Porino said.

Annabel Everett ’25 is a member of the Dartmouth’s Mirror team.

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