This summer, on-campus jobs difficult to come by

By Katie Zager

The days are getting longer, the flowers are in bloom, Bateman Plaza is consistently occupied-it’s almost summer at Macalester. And with warm temperatures, tons of recreational opportunities and housing options galore, one can easily see why a student would want to spend the summer in St. Paul. This year, however, summer jobs on campus seem particularly hard to come by.Chris Baxter, Assistant Director for the Campus Center & Conferences, who is in charge of hiring summer conference staff, noted the large number of applicants.

“After the internal hiring was done.we had 74 applicants for seven openings, so only one in 10 got hired”

Other on-campus employers had large applicant pools this year as well. Facilities, one of the largest employers, had 114 applicants for 29 jobs, according to Administrative Assistant Karin Zeller. Ron Osterman, Assistant Director of Athletics, said they had 50 applicants for five Athletic Assistant positions.

There are a number of reasons that might make gaining on-campus employment a challenge for most students. Many on-campus employers look to current student-employees first, primarily because retaining them makes training easier, as well as keeping them engaged in working there. Even among internal hires, the competition could be tough. For instance, the library, which has over 100 students employees during the school year, only retains 12 over the summer.

Peter Mathison ’12 applied for a number of summer on-campus jobs.

“The [online] applications are really simple, I’m not sure how they differentiated between everyone. Especially since everyone seemed qualified,” he said.

Indeed, jobs that required very specific skill sets, such as Lifeguard, had significantly fewer applicants than jobs that did not.

There are a number of reasons why students would prefer to stay on campus, mainly having to do with ease and convenience. Mathison noted that things like consistent hours were a plus. Having an on-campus job is also one of the school-related activities that qualifies you to live on campus during the summer, something having an off-campus job does not allow you to do. Other circumstances might keep kids on campus this summer as well.

“It’s getting harder and harder, especially for international students, to go home,” Baxter said.

With most on-campus hiring wrapping up for the year, students will have to look elsewhere for summer opportunities. Whether it’s getting a job back home, in the cities, or working retail down the street, many students can take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.