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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Student workers toil over finals

As many students head into the pressures of finals week, there are even more who are stressing about more than just grades — UA’s student employees.

Nineteen percent of UA employees are graduate assistants and associates, 2,856 positions and with thousands more undergraduates earning hourly wages in varying departments, many students pull campus double duty.

The $2.5 million springing from the $80 student services fee, mandated in 2008 by the Arizona Board of Regents and paid by every UA student, is helping to pay undergraduate wages and graduate salaries.

Bill Ruggirello, assistant director of career services, said Arizona Student Unions, the Department of Campus Recreation and the UofA Bookstore all employ a great deal of students. “”And that can vary from minimum wage to who knows how much … we just advertise jobs but we are not where everything is funneled through,”” Ruggirello said.

Student employment opportunities offer no guarantee of employment implied outside of a student position. These jobs max out at 30 hours a week during class sessions and 40 hours a week during vacations, ranging from four student groups of varying levels of skills and education.

Student employees in Student Groups A, B and C titles are non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act and may not be scheduled to work or be paid overtime. International students possessing an F-1 student visa or a J-1 exchange visitor visa, with permission from their sponsor, may be employed under general student employment, according to the Career Services website.

Arizona Student Unions

While studying late night at the Cellar Bistro, take a look at the newly remodeled facility. A student worker chaired the remodel.

Projects in the Arizona Student Unions, such as integrating social media and renovating the game rooms and the Cellar Bistro came from the Professional Internship Program.

Arizona Student Unions received $17,000 last year from the student services fee to pay for its graduate assistants. According to Melissa Vito, vice president for student affairs who oversees the student services fee board, there is not a mandate for those receiving student services fee support to hire graduate or undergraduate students, but the focus on student hires has been a priority of previous boards.

“”During the class they take on a project, they work through it and they come up with a solution to it, and they then implement it throughout their careers,”” said Ashley Labar, student human resources coordinator. After a two-unit course offered in spring semesters, students start at $10.25 an hour. The maximum is $10.75 an hour.

The Arizona Student Unions employ around 945 students, according to Stephanie Cunningham, advisor to the student human resource department.

Most students start out at minimum wage, and with every 250 hours of work they are eligible for a 25-cent an hour raise. Student leads and managers get dollar raises per hour.

“”We recently opened that up to the bookstore and Residence Life to offer the pan-professional experience more divisionally and get the student voice out there,”” Cunningham said.

UofA Bookstore

Students are selling back books left and right, and when next semester starts students will be leading the charge. The UofA Bookstore operates as a fully self-financed, non-profit unit of the UA as a professional asset of the Arizona Board of Regents.

The bookstore employs between 250 and 300 students during their “”rush”” periods at the beginning of each semester, which is reduced to six graduate assistants and 187 permanent undergraduate student employees throughout the year who receive supervisory, salaried positions within departments, said Jessica Calcagni, student personnel of the UofA Bookstore.

In this year’s student services fee board recommendations, efforts like $5,000 for the book scholarship extravaganza — chaired by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona — worked to show student commitment to lowering book costs for students.  

Although most UofA Bookstore student employees will start at minimum wage, those “”who illustrate good work ethic”” in three months or during annual checks will be up for raises said Calcagni. Student employees of the bookstore receive discounted books after an extended period of work, usually after a semester.

As for advancement opportunities, “”the sky’s the limit,”” Calcagni said. The process is no different from work-study, and the UofA Bookstore is  “”happy to be able to fit a student with a higher-paying position when we’re able to — especially when it falls within their chosen career field.””

Department of Campus Recreation

When exercising away some finals stress, or playing those last games of intramural soccer or basketball, take a look at the students who are holding the whistles and swiping the CatCards.

Carolina Luque, graduate assistant for student development at the Department of Campus Recreation, says there are more than 230 student employees at the Recreation Center, 100 of which act as referees for intramural games. All are hourly wage earners.

For minimum wage increases and expansions in student staffing, the Department of Campus Recreation received a recommendation of $96,800 from the student services fee board last year.

Most students start at minimum wage, but Luque said according to the department’s human resources representative, “”that it is against our policy to disclose wage information of our student employees.””

They utilize a five-week program called ATLAS, Applied Tailored Leadership Adventure for Students, through the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership in the Student Union. “”There are students that have been here for six plus years because they’ve moved up,”” Luque said.

The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, or CSIL, received $34,000 last year from student services fees to support graduate assistant opportunities.

Through workshops in conflict resolution and customer services, the program “”helps them do their jobs better, so that they have the skill set to take them beyond here and to their chosen career path,”” Luque said.

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