Helen Schneider said she wouldn’t give up working at the Student Activities office for a higher paying job.
“It is minimum wage and I could be making more, but I wouldn’t because there’s more to life than just money,” she said. “It’s about enjoying what you do,” said Schneider, one of three students that currently work in the Student Activities office.
During two-to-five hour shifts throughout the week, student workers’ responsibilities range from creating flyers to selling movie tickets. Off the clock, student workers still make an effort to volunteer for Student Activities events. “We do whatever is in our power and if there is no way, we make a way,” said Schneider.
Throughout the summer and academic year, student workers share the office with professional staff. “They really show that they care about you and that you’re not just another employee,” said Schneider.
Working with professional staff and the Student Senate, student workers help with the preparation efforts for events such as the commencement in May. “It gives students opportunities to be creative and innovative in how we market the products for student activities,” said Louis Coplin, director of student life.
“I love my job,” said Morgan Kunz, the longest-employed student worker at the office. Being ineligible for financial aid in fall 2013, Morgan Kunz was unable to apply for the Federal Work-Study Program. After visiting the Center for Careers and Employment (now the Center for Careers and Transfer), she was directed to apply for a position in the Student Activities office.
Working in the office over the last three years, Kunz has witnessed management differences between Student Senate executive boards. For the last two executive boards, student workers typically stocked up the food pantry on their own. “This is actually the first year that I’ve seen [the] Senate work with the food pantry more,” she said.
Although Kunz’s workload has increased since 2013, she makes an effort to fit in shifts at the Student Activities office between working two jobs. “They’re more understanding if you have things going on or you need more time off,” said Kunz.
Over his last two semesters at the college, Robert Lee Song typically takes time off at the Student Activities office during finals. “School comes before work because education is ultimately what I’m here for,” said Song. In order to be eligible to work at the office, students have to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
Song came to Hudson Valley after taking a year off from college at Schenectady County Community College. “When I went there, there was a lot more students just going there and then going home,” he said. “It was a lot like high school,” said Song.
Since working in the office, Song has become a member of the Faculty Student Association Board of Directors and a student representative for campus attorney Sandra McCarthy. “I wouldn’t be a board of director [for] a $20 million company if it wasn’t for getting this job,” he said. Song’s involvement with student life at Hudson Valley will reach an end in May.
This semester, all three of the current student workers plan on leaving Hudson Valley.“Students who replace them have some very big shoes to fill,” said Alfredo Balarin, assistant director of student life.