By Connie Klimek
Due to budget cuts, safety precautions and limited student traffic, student employment on campus has experienced extreme consequences of the pandemic, downsizing. This is the case especially within the Administration Building as hardly any student workers are currently present on campus, and a few lucky ones are working from home.
The Admissions Office, for example, had to let go most of their desk attendants. Student workers who even assist with events have been let go because they are simply not needed on campus.
However, some offices such as the Gateway, the Schurz Library and Wiekamp Educational Resource Commons, River Crossing Housing, the Student Activities Center and the Admissions Office have been given permission to hire needed student workers. However, most offices across campus have hired less student workers than in previous semesters.
One office that has stayed open virtually throughout the entire campus closure in March without having to let go any student workers was the Gateway. The Gateway is the switchboard that transfers calls when the general phone number for campus is called. It is an essential task that requires student workers. Due to safety regulations and precautions, plexiglass is in the process of being installed, but until the protective plexiglass is to limit exposure to carriers of COVID-19 put up, the student workers for the Gateway are working from home.
Additionally, a select number of student workers in the Admissions Office have been hired as tour guides, as showcasing the university is crucial in recruiting future Titans. However, tours are looking a bit different this year too, as masks, registration, and limited groups of eight or less participants are all new rules to protect the IU South Bend community from the spread of COVID-19.
“We are lucky to be able to rehire some student workers,” Caroline Bilsky, Assistant Director of Admissions, said.
Due to the sudden nature of the closure of many offices on campus to working remotely in March, some offices such as the Admissions Office created small projects for their student workers to work on, but the demand had been dramatically lessened.
Furthermore, student employment on campus has been relatively limited, as more than half of classes are online entirely this semester.
“We are so proud of our fabulous student workers! They assist us in so many ways, from staffing key service points, shelving books and government publications, updating web pages, and processing university archives to creating graphics and assisting students with production equipment in the WERC,” Vicki D. Bloom, Dean of Library Services, said.
Many offices, such as River Crossing housing have been able to keep all their student workers and employees, yet they all have just picked up more work in order to make up for any vacancies in a budget friendly manner.
“The amazing thing has been how everyone has been about wanting to protect themselves but also each other. The way we interact has changed but the spirit of our Housing community has stayed the same. I’m proud of our staff and our students in the way they are approaching this. It shows the spirit and the caring of being a Titan,” Loni Oehlwein, Assistant Director of Housing, said.