Published February 5, 2010
The reduction of work study opportunities for St. Lawrence students has been proposed by the Recession Response and Planning Task Group, a collection of deans, department directors and managers, and professors. The Group’s platform for campus spending change was submitted on January 8, 2010. The RRPTG has scrutinized all programs and operations, searching for ways to save money. Several departments are specifically cited for work study cutback in the proposal: Facilities Operations, Career Services, Residence Life, and Student Activities. The RRPTG suggests the student worker budget in Facilities Operations, “be reduced, particularly in the summer, in three areas: custodial, grounds, and skilled trades.” Similarly, Res Life and Career Services may reduce student staff, while Student Activities could cut student wages.
Currently, St. Lawrence has various employment opportunities on campus, all of which are funded either by St. Lawrence University funds or by Federal Student Aid. Any student is eligible for work study as long as he or she is enrolled at least half-time. Undergraduate students are permitted to work up to 20 hours a week during the school year and 40 hours a week during break, wages start at $7.25 per hour.
However, many students find job-hunting on campus difficult already without the potential decrease in work study opportunities. Maggie Hoercher ’11 says, “I tried looking for a job last semester but I didn’t really know where to look. There isn’t a place for students to see the available jobs, at least to my knowledge.” During the year, information about employment opportunities is limited. While there is a Campus Employment Fair during New Student Orientation, some question its effectiveness. Lauren Kramer ’12 notes, “The job fairs really aren’t that helpful because you put in a general application, and there’s no guarantee it’s going to go anywhere.” Meanwhile, Hannah VanParys believes students need to have a strong relationship with a staff member in order to find employment. “Otherwise,” VanParys says, “it’s really hard to stand out as a candidate.” Additionally, campus departments are instructed to give hiring preference during the first two weeks of the semester to student whose wages are funded by Federal Student Aid, says Financial Aid Office employee, Tommiann Olmstead.
If these recommendations are implemented, the seemingly elusive work study positions could potentially diminish further. If finding employment prospects on campus is difficult, it is doubly so to find them downtown. Due to St. Lawrence’s location in the small town of Canton, it is difficult for students to find part-time jobs off-campus, especially when local citizens are vying for the same ones.
Neither the exact amount of student wages nor the precise number of student staff to be cut are cited in the RRPTG Recommendations. As such, the impact on work study availability cannot be accurately calculated. However, students hope they will still find employment even if the proposed reductions are put into practice.
Currently, the best way approach the search for on campus employment is directly through each individual department. As campus employment provides financial benefits as well as valuable experience, students seeking work study opportunities should get in touch with the Financial Aid Office.