Building Skills and Connections: The Value of Student-Workers on Campus
Every student has an opportunity to work on campus as a student worker. Their roles on campus are not only vital in keeping the campus running, but their efforts contribute to Widener’s strong sense of community.
Oftentimes, these diverse job opportunities can intersect with a student’s future career and help them to develop transferable skills beyond the job at hand.
For Gabby Norris ‘23, an English major who works on the social media team in the Office of University Relations, her experience has helped her hone her communication skills and gain confidence as a soon-to-be professional.
Norris shared with great pride that, “Widener has lots of opportunities for employment in every department that makes anyone’s experience more fulfilling.”
Norris loves the interaction she has with the Widener community because she can meet new people on campus and engage with a broader audience. One of her favorite parts about the job is “being able to highlight the Widener experience for prospective students by giving them a direct look into the Pride.”
Billy Hess ‘23, a computer science major, is a CX student ambassador lead on the client experience team (CX team) in the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS). In his role, he has improved his communication and time management skills by leading training sessions for students, faculty, and staff. He understands that working in a client-experience role allows him to see what occurs in the real world in terms of keeping an open mind and solving technical problems.
Hess plans to go “into IT support after college, so being on the team for so many years has prepared me beyond the technology skills that I need to know,” he said.
Many of the jobs on campus, which include both independent work and teamwork, also offer professional development opportunities that foster accountability, leadership, and customer-service skills.
For example, the CX team holds workshops with the Office of Career Design & Development for each student-worker cohort, including Hess. These sessions help students with resume-building based on skills they learn on the job.
Joanne Caione-Keating, associate vice president of learning and client eXperiences in Library and Information Services (LIS), said that, “the goal is to offer resume quality experiences that are meaningful and have the students feel proud and confident with the experiences they gained being on the CX team.”
Mentorship is also a crucial part of the CX team. It provides an outlet for student workers to discuss their careers and personal growth. Rick Orme, director of client experiences and learning spaces, adds that, “both the students and staff create a space where they can feel comfortable and have mentorship conversations when needed.”
Whether students have in-depth knowledge of technology, Keating and Orme leverage their strengths and build upon them. To many student workers, this means that anything they do – whether it is related to their major – can be used in any field of study or work.
That approach is applied to jobs held in the Pride Recreation Center, too. The positions and responsibilities in this popular campus facility include working in diverse team dynamics and social situations while also maneuvering conflict resolution. Whether that be through creating projects that involve different events or preparing and promoting programs at the center, there are several ways students can learn soft skills.
Corina Evans, director of the Pride Recreation Center, understands that students will most likely pursue a career unrelated to their roles on her team. Her goal, however, is that students will “remember seeing and doing this when they worked at Pride Rec.”
Through conversations and guidance, managerial faculty and staff always want to ensure that students understand their strengths and skills, so they have the confidence to present their resumes to future employers.
At the end of the day, this is more than a job for students because they feel as if they can gain incredible job experience while improving their connections and environment at Widener.