Working on campus has its benefits, but can student employment keep up with the rising cost of living in Colorado Springs?
The office of student employment and the United Campus Workers of Colorado are making efforts to improve working environments on campus, turning it into a place that students would be happy to work in.
Shannon Cable, director of student employment at UCCS, believes that the primary benefit of working on campus is the connection to other students and campus life. “There is an inherent networking that happens when you’re a student employee. You get to know your colleagues, who might be other students, or staff or faculty,” Cable said.
“You will have an unbelievable level of connectivity with what’s going on with campus, and that creates a really strong network for you, not only as the employee in the department you’re in but as a student.”
Off-campus employment won’t typically offer the level of flexibility on-campus does. Cable said on-campus employers recognize that their employees may need to change their schedule when their class workload increases. “We understand that our students are here to receive a degree — they’re students first,” she said.
Despite the efforts by student employment and the United Campus Workers to continue to increase wages, UCCS remains the lowest paid CU campus at a $14 per hour minimum wage. Every other CU campus has a $15 per hour minimum wage.
“That’s our goal to acknowledge that not only are we the only campus [without a $15 minimum wage] but our inflation is raising higher than, say, Boulder,” said Eilex Rodriguez of UCW. “You should be having that livable [wage] here.”
“I think it’s important for all workers to feel represented in a more collective aspect,” Rodriguez said. “I believe that as a collective we’re able to win bigger things and we’re able to gain bigger things.”
Students looking for employment should use the Student Employment Assistance Network website to find both on-campus and off-campus hourly or work study positions. The student employment office also has walk-in hours available in Cragmor 104 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, where students can get counseling and assistance in finding a job that is right for them.
“We work really hard to collaborate with all of the departments on campus, not only those in ways that you can see as a student, but in a bunch of ways that you can’t,” Cable said. “We audit all sorts of things to try to make sure that the actual experience of the student employee is a good one.”
Campus workers looking to get in touch with UCW can email Eilex Rodriguez at [email protected].
Photo caption: Student employees Katie Kane and Grace Garcia working at the University Center info desk. Photo by Kira Thorne.