UND on-campus employers value their workers as ‘students first, employees second’


Amy Halvorson

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UND on-campus employers value their workers as ‘students first, employees second’

Last year, the University of North Dakota had more than 4,000 students working at different places around campus.

The jobs varied from teaching Zumba at the Wellness Center to watering plants for the biology faculty.

The saying goes that college is supposed to be the best years of a person's life, but it can be challenging when trying to balance class, homework, a job, and still having social time.

"It gets to be a little more complicated working off campus," said Ilene Odegard, UND director of Career Services. "Employers on campus know (that students) are students first and employees second."

"For example, if you work at a restaurant, they probably aren't going to let you go home early if you have a test the next day, whereas with a student working on campus you may be able to," said Cassandra McDonald, a student employment coordinator at UND.

Rachel Nelson, a fifth-year student from Rochester, Minn., majoring in elementary education, has been working in Old Main Marketplace since October of her freshman year. Not long after, she was promoted to student manager and has held that title for two years.

Through her work, Nelson has gained real-life experience, as she is in charge of hiring students, opening and closing on weekends, overseeing other managers, and is still able to get involved with food preparation. Nelson said she especially enjoys "training-in employees and teaching them how to work."

"For a lot of students this is their first job in the workforce," said Odegard.

Therefore, it is beneficial for students to learn how to operate and conduct themselves in the workplace, and working on campus provides the perfect learning environment for one to do so.

According to Odegard, research has shown that student employees learn how to better manage time, improve academics and become more involved in student organizations.

Student employment also provides students with a source of income that is close to where they live and more flexible than off campus.

Having a job on campus also allows students to expand their peer network.

"Most of my friends are from work," said Nelson.

Students also often are able to get an on-campus job that relates to their chosen field of study, allowing them to gain meaningful skills with other people already employed within that field.

"(Student employees) really are essential parts of campus," McDonald said.

"Definitely get (a job) on campus and try to work your way up," Nelson added. "You learn a lot about communication, how to handle real world situations and you get to meet people from around the world."

Amy Halvorson University & Public Affairs student writer

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