Highest-paid campus jobs often stay unfilled

by Anna Parachkevova | 6/2/04 5:00am

In the "real world," high-paying jobs are usually among the most sought-after, but Dartmouth student workers don't appear to be lured by the same incentives.

While Dartmouth Dining Services offers the best-paid positions on campus, many of these positions remain unfilled.

No students currently work at the Courtyard Cafe in the Hop, and only one student is working in the dish room in Food Court. Student employees at both Food Court and Homeplate work only a few weekend hours.

What exceptions do exist reveal clear trends: A disproportionately high number of DDS student employees work for The Blend or Topside convenience store, an unequal distribution stemming from student preferences for less work-intensive jobs.

The relative popularity of other jobs around campus confirms the trend. The slightly higher wages offered by DDS clearly are not high enough to lure students away from jobs that allow more studying time or other perks. Library jobs are in high demand among student employees. More than 20 students take turns working at the Baker-Berry Reserves, covering shifts from noon to midnight.

Hotspots for student employment also tend to offer more independence.

Positions that have only one full-time employee overseeing the work of students and positions that are completely student-run seem to attract more student employees. The Blend and Topside match those criteria.

While students apparently prefer jobs that enable them to do schoolwork and make money at the same time, it is not always the case.

Some students seek positions that match their interests. Glen Buchberger '04 joined the tech crew at the Hop because he worked with lighting in high school and he wanted to hone his skills at Dartmouth.

In addition to these special interests, students often desire the responsibilities some positions offer.

Less work-intensive jobs often require more responsibility. Student monitoring jobs in the gym ensure the safety of others. To guarantee that they are prepared to act in case of an emergency, all employees at the gym are required to take a CPR test as part of their formal training.

Monitoring positions at the gym also allow for ample people-watching opportunities. From his desk at Kresge Fitness Center, Sean Furey '04 observes many students' obsessions with their physical appearance and body image.

"You definitely see some people here all the time," Furey said. "Guys walking around with their sleeves rolled up and checking themselves out in the mirrors, or girls who are definitely underweight and work out too much."

Student jobs at the gym are open to all students, but athletes fill many of these positions because they are usually the first to hear about openings.

Coaches often receive information about open positions, which they then forward to members of their teams.

In addition to hidden responsibilities, some student jobs have larger missions that extend beyond the immediate tasks of the job and transcend its physical boundaries to improve the larger Dartmouth community.

Keeping the Collis Center accessible to the entire student community is an important mission for its student workers.

Unlike other on-campus DDS branches, Collis Cafe, Lone Pine and Late Night at Collis do not lack student employees.

The social environment in the building attracts many students to seek employment there.

Student employees keep their jobs for the duration of their Dartmouth careers and beyond due to the sense of community, some students say.

"Hopefully, along with the work experience I've gained I'll be able to take some of these friendships with me out into the real world when I graduate," said Ryan Foley '04, Collis building manager.