Career Center to honor student employees

By Marisa Sobotka, Campus Reporter

For the first time, Columbia will host a National Student Employee Week April 10–14 to recognize those who go above and beyond.

 The week will include several events aimed at appreciating the college’s nearly 1,200 student employees, including awarding a Student Employee of the Year, according to Eric Wordlow, assistant director of Student Employment for the Career Center.

The weeklong event will take place in the Career Center, 618 S. Michigan Ave. In addition to the student award, it will have themes and events set for each day of the week that  include  complimentary headshots, an appreciation breakfast, a transferable skills workshop and a photo contest.

Erik Friedman, associate dean of Career Development and Industry Relations for the Career Center, said it was time to bring the event to Columbia.

“Student employees are relied on to do critical functions that keep the college in business,” Friedman said. “So it is really an opportunity to appreciate those students and find ways to encourage their professional development.”

According to Friedman, while the events focus on acknowledging the hard work of student employees, they are also about advancing their skill sets for careers after college.

“We want to make sure we turn their experience into one that could help develop professional skills,” Friedman said. “They are not only going to earn some extra money but also to introduce them to professionals, office procedures and business practices.”

The Student Employee of the Year Award will be selected April 14. Wordlow  said campus employers nominated 17 students as of press time, who will be notified of their nominations the week of April 10.

The winner can possibly go on to compete for state and possibly national Student Employee of the Year Awards.

Junior television major  Nicholas Shinners, a student worker in the Office of Student Organizations, said his employer notified him of his Student Employee of the Year nomination. His work includes assisting students leaders and organizations in planning events as well as overseeing the loft lounge.

“Getting a nomination is an honor, [and] working in that office has been one of the best things that happened to me this year,” Shinners said. “Being recognized for my work in such a positive environment was very exciting.”

Although he took a campus job to make extra money, the position has given him transferable skills, he said.

“An award like this can show to future employers I was doing important work and have gained valuable experience while working during school,” Shinners said.

According to Friedman, this is just the “starting point” for an event the Career Center will continue annually to recognize new student employees.

“We are just in the first year doing this, we want to grow it and make sure it catches on campus,” Friedman said. “We want to make sure students know that they are appreciated and how we can advocate for them and the college.”