More students searching for on-campus jobs

By Steve Carasso

Feeling the brunt of economic hard times, more NIU students are searching for university on-campus jobs this semester than last but finding less opportunities for employment.

This can be seen at the Student Employment Office and at NIU’s three largest employers, where the amount of students coming to look for on-campus job opportunities is growing.

However, Student Employment Coordinator Solveig Quinney said she feels the recession is playing a role in decreasing the number of jobs being offered. Quinney added the increase in students has been more dramatic this school year compared to last.

However, some job positions have been decreased because students are staying with the jobs they held from last semester.

This is evident with the Residence Hall Food Services, the largest employer of NIU students, where more student workers continued their employment from the fall semester to the spring semester.

Ralph Chaplin, interim director of Residence Hall Food Services, said this resulted in less jobs available from the beginning.

The Holmes Student Center, which employs 500 part-time students, is the second largest employer on campus. Job applicants increased, but this isn’t unusual for the spring semester.

“After Christmas, students apply for jobs in order to pay their bills,” said Holmes Student Center Director Judd Baker.

However, most jobs were filled early this semester, forcing the student center to put students on a waiting list for jobs that might open up later, Baker said.

“We hire throughout the semester because jobs usually open toward the end of the school year,” Baker said.

The same seems to be true with Founders Memorial Library, NIU’s third largest student employer. Business Manager Chuck Crumbacher said jobs were unavailable because student employees kept their positions from last semester. He said the number of students who applied for library jobs was equivalent to last semester.

Although there might be no vacancies for jobs, the budget cuts imposed by NIU has not affected the number of jobs available for students from the largest university employers.

“We have an obligation to serve meals to our residents,” Chaplin said. “We haven’t cut the number of jobs and I hope no cutting of services would occur.”

Although budget cuts have put certain projects on hold at the student center, they haven’t affected the number of jobs or hours available to student workers.

“Even though there is a recession, we need the students to maintain the programs we have,” Baker said. Students make up almost 80 percent of the work force, he said.

Baker said he would hate to have budget cuts affect the number of jobs for students at the student center. He said he feels students are a very capable, highly-motivated and intelligent group that are a luxury to university employers.

Budget cuts have not hurt the number of jobs available at Founders Memorial Library, where students make up almost half of the workers.

Although no jobs seem available, Baker said he was sympathetic to the plight of students.

“The recession hurts everyone, especially the uncertainty,” Baker said. It’s difficult to predict what might happen next, he said.