Record Number of Student Workers Reflects Growth of GCU Campus
By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
They’re available when you phone the Help Desk, when you order a coffee at Thunder Alley and when you ask for assistance at GCU Arena. They’re everywhere.
This semester, GCU employs 1,146 student workers who live on campus or commute to their classes in Phoenix — nearly 40 percent more than last year, according to the campus Career Services office. University leaders say the youthful student workforce is essential to keeping pace with GCU’s growth and development.
For example, more than 260 students work in Tech Support, fielding thousands of questions daily from their fellow students about how to navigate GCU online classrooms and websites.
More than 120 others serve as ambassadors to the ground campus through the Antelope Reception Center at GCU Arena. Their task is to introduce prospective students and their families to GCU on tours, forcing them to learn to connect with parents and teens alike.
Career Services Director Jacqueline Smith said events such as today’s Student Worker Appreciation Day, which includes giveaways for student workers at tonight’s men’s basketball game at GCU Arena, emphasize how much the University community values its young talent. Smith’s team also honors student workers with monthly and annual awards to highlight those who exceed expectations.
“Self-confidence is critical,” Smith said about what it takes to succeed as a GCU student worker. It’s the primary element many employers look for, she said, recalling her days as a corporate recruiter.
|Student Worker Appreciation Day|
|GCU student workers are invited to attend tonight’s (Monday, Dec. 3) men’s basketball game vs. Hawai’i Hilo at GCU Arena at 6:30 p.m.
“We want our students to walk into an interview and the employer to know they’re a GCU graduate with the way they make eye contact, shake hands and show respect,” she said.
The Career Services office helps place students in jobs that work around their class schedules. Many student workers are underclassmen who’ve not yet secured internships, while others enjoy the consistency of having a job to return to each year. Most student workers who live on campus appreciate the convenience of a quick walk for their commute to the office.
Sophomore nursing student Brittany Bach, who joined the ARC as a freshman and works as a tour guide team lead, said she hoped to work on campus for four years – even as she launches a career in nursing.
“I just get to brag about the school all day,” she said prior to taking a family and prospective student out for a golf-cart tour of campus.
“I’ve worked really long shifts, so it’s preparing me for the hospital,” she said. “I’m like in the zone on the tour. There’s definitely times when I’m tired or it’s been a long week when I don’t feel like doing it, but once it starts, I get into it.”
Michael Joy, who oversees Tech Support student workers, said young people have the ability to connect with their fellow students over the phone based on personal experiences with LoudCloud or the GCU Library website resources. Others assist with tech-support questions from campus employees.
Joy said he has noticed students from non-tech majors, such as nursing students, standing out as they develop the interpersonal skills that will assist them later in their careers.
“We’ve seen a very specific improvement in the overall quality over the years,” Joy said. “In the past, student workers were just here.
“Now they’re very dedicated to what they’re doing, very energetic about being on the phone and helping other students.”
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 639.7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.