Campus offers wide variety of jobs for students

Bookstores, food services and check out counters are what come to mind when people say “campus jobs.” It seems as if students can only find the same old generic time consuming jobs on campus. But turns out, the University has a vast array of jobs that are available for students who are willing to look.

“I was checking the virtual job board every day this summer, and even though I didn’t find a job there, I still stayed proactive. I looked on the school website, found a job that I liked, applied and got it,” said William Goff, freshman in LAS who works at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center.

Goff is a secretary at the cultural center, but he gets to do much more than just sit behind a desk and answer phone calls.

“I get to work alongside my boss and help coordinate a lot of cultural events,” Goff said, “we have a Lunch and Learn every Wednesday in which we pick a topic that we feel people around the campus should know about and we discuss it.”

It seems like Goff has a lot on his hands but he is still able to balance school and work because of the flexibility of his job.

“I organize my time, and structure my day so it works around my schedule,“ he said.

Campus jobs, regardless of how unique, also provide more than just a paycheck. Jobs help students gain experience and work skills and can even provide a lot of networking opportunities that set students up for long lasting careers.

Cristal Espana, junior in LAS, works at the Atlas help desk, and through her bosses at Atlas, she found an internship.

“I was looking for a marketing internship and my boss here set up a position that would be marketing for Atlas just for me. It’s hard to leave a job when everyone is so willing to help and see you succeed,” Espana said.

Espana went on to mention that many of the people she works with in the Foreign Language Building are previous students who worked with Atlas and eventually got set up with stable, long-term jobs here in Champaign.

Espana’s job is highly important but like Goff, she is able to manage it.

“We get requests and tickets so rarely (that) we have so much free time to just do homework or browse the internet. Everyone is so chill here,” she said.

Jeremy Koontz, sophomore in Engineering, knows a lot about what a “chill” work environment is like. He works at the Rec Center in the basement of the Union.

“It’s really laid back,” Koontz said, “we’ve got music and people bowling. The DDR club is always here dancing and they’re insane to watch. Sometimes when there’s a huge soccer game all the international students come down and cram together to watch the game. It’s just overall a fun environment.”

Koontz, along with Goff and Espana, all have distinct jobs and are lucky that their jobs give them leeway to multi-task and be in a comfortable environment. When asked if having a job on campus is beneficial, all three had similar responses.

“The practical skills you gain from working are beneficial, I think it’s great working especially here on campus, so when you go out in the real world you kind of have an idea of what it will be like,” Goff said.

Koontz also spoke about how working at the Rec Center gives him an opportunity to pick up skills he hopes to transfer to his future career.

“My favorite part of the job is having to fix the bowling machines,” Koontz said. “For me in engineering, it helps out because I get some machine training and see firsthand how different mechanical parts work.”

Jobs that offer unique experiences like ones at Atlas, in the Rec Center and at the Bruce D. Nesbitt cultural center may be a little tough to come by, but there are still tons of other jobs students can get on campus that may not be unique but still provide the same basic experience.

Alex Ruby, junior in LAS, works at the Ikenberry Commons Dining Hall and spontaneously decided he wanted to get a job.

“I had some open time in my day and I thought instead of lying on the couch or surfing the net, I could do something productive and work for two hours a day. So I went about looking for a job,” Ruby said.

A campus job may not be for everyone, and it’s hard to come by one that allows students a lot of freedom while at work, but the benefits of a job are endless — from picking up social and work skills to the most important part: getting paid.

“I would definitely recommend other people to get a job, especially here. It’s not difficult and the best part is you’re making money,” Ruby said.