Columbia debuts job fair for on-campus work


Erin Brown

On-campus jobs are popular students because of their flexible schedules, according to Cindy Allen, student assistant at the Learning Center.  

By Campus Reporter

The first job fair for on-campus jobs held Sept. 15 allowed students to meet faculty from 14 college departments and discuss employment opportunities.

Student Employment, now housed in the college’s Career Center, hosts an annual job fair to assist students searching for employment outside of campus, but this is the first event coordinated specifically for positions within the college, according to Eric Wordlow, assistant director of Student Employment.

The fair’s large turnout—Career Center staff members said 225 were estimated to attend and approximately 310 came—was likely because of the  center’s promotion of the event, according to Wordlow, especially noting the use of the college’s student employment website, Handshake.

“We have a lot of students that want to work on campus, and we don’t always have enough supply for that demand,” Wordlow said. “I thought bringing an on-campus job fair would allow an opportunity for students to engage with on-campus employers.”

Booths set up at Stage Two in the 618 S. Michigan Ave. Building were run by faculty and staff from 14 Columbia departments, including the Design Department, the Multicultural Affairs Department and College Advising Center, each of which provided information about positions available for students.

Students pursue employment at the college because the jobs offer flexible schedules and are not too demanding, said Cindy Allen, junior television major and student assistant in the Learning Studio.

Eric Ashford, a sophomore interactive arts & media major, said he attended the job fair hoping to obtain a job at Columbia’s Computer Store.

“[If I get the job] I can  meet  more people, possibly gamers or programmers,  get their insights and how they feel about certain products and then know what to design for the future,” Ashford said.

According to a Sept. 13 email from Wordlow, a total of 762 work authorizations were submitted in the Fall 2016 Semester on behalf of student employees.

Though some students with on-campus jobs do not hold positions related to their majors, students can gain skills applicable to any job, according to Poonam Joshi, student employment coordinator for the Career Center.

Jake Fedorowski, a student worker at the College Advising Center and senior theatre major, said previous jobs did not help him learn in the same way that his on-campus job does.

“The skills [in those jobs] weren’t really helping me advance in my field,” Fedorowski said. “I wanted something like this where I have that communication and management, at a lower level, so I’m able to cultivate those skills and prepare myself for my profession.”

No students were hired for positions at the job fair, but students and prospective employers exchanged information.

Next, Wordlow hopes to improve the program by increasing the number of departments and students involved.

“There are students that are definitely hungry for work on campus,” Wordlow said. “I think they understand the benefits of it and the flexibility in terms of scheduling as well.”