Staff Editorial: Student jobs needed

NW Staff

Somewhere in the busy life of a college student, a job is necessary. Many students search for jobs on campus because they are convenient, especially for those who live in the dorms, and they work easily around their class schedule. According to Human Resources, between 1,500 and 1,800 students are currently employed in on-campus positions.

And although tuition was raised to prevent cuts in student employment, it was inevitable that with the current economy some student jobs would be lost. But in one instance, it took away the jobs of students who were expecting a mere break in employment.

The Call Center was a student-driven organization that provided a substantial amount of jobs for students on campus, routinely employing at least 30 at a time. These students worked calling alumni, parents and friends of Northern for donations on behalf of the NMU Foundation. This past July, the Call Center closed in order to take a closer look at their revenue. Employees were told to reapply in two months, but were later informed that the positions were outsourced to Illinois based RuffaloCODY, a strategic fundraising company who helped run the call center previously.

While this will save the NMU Foundation a projected $100,000, it’s a big hit to student employment opportunities, which should always be a top priority, even when budgets get squeezed.
The rationale for closing the Call Center centered on the fact the money raised would still go to enhance the education of students at NMU. But this misses out on a key point, student employees need that money to live on, not necessarily to enrich their education. It’s hard to focus on your education when you can’t pay your rent.

And losing the Call Center meant losing jobs for the students who often fall through the cracks. Many on campus jobs require work-study, which although helps employ a lot of students on campus, leaves those who don’t qualify scrambling to find jobs.
Students who previously worked at the Call Center were told to visit Career Services for help finding a new job and offered other resources. Still, the fact remains that they were left in the unexpected position of having to hunt for a new job in the first place.

While The North Wind understands cuts need to be made, it should not be at the expense of student jobs. Employment is a crucial part of enabling students to pursue higher education, and we need to keep opportunities as accessible as possible.