Is On-Campus Employment Working for Students?


A. Ray Olpin Union where many students are employed on campus. | Chronicle archive

By Stephany Cortez

On-campus employment at the University of Utah is meant as a learning experience for students to help them prepare for professional work after graduation. Jobs vary in time commitment, payment, department and required experience level. Most on-campus jobs provide flexibility for students’ school schedules and accommodate students’ personal needs.

Maia Southwick is a junior at the U pursuing a double major in psychology and health, society and policy. Southwick currently works at the technical support desk on the second floor of the Marriott Library as a supervisor.

“I have been working at the Marriott Library since last fall,” she said, “Prior to that, I was also working at the Salt Lake City Public Library, but what made me ultimately decide to choose one job while being a full-time student was the flexibility working at the Marriott offered and the increase in pay due to a promotion along with the close proximity it has to my home. It just accommodated my needs.”

AnaJenny Fernandez, a senior at the U majoring in strategic communications, has also worked at the U. “I used to work at the Union and now I work at the S.J. Quinney Law School. I am thinking about pursuing law school after graduation, and I thought it would be a good way to get my foot in the door towards the right direction.”

A recent study of Utah college students, published by the Standard-Examiner, found that students who do not work all year have higher GPAs than those who do work year-round. The study was conducted by the Utah Data Research Center, where they examined the academic performance from 2012 -2016 of students at Utah’s public four-year colleges — Weber State, Utah State, Utah Valley University, Southern Utah University, Dixie State University and the U.

The study’s researchers found that students who were working year-round were negatively impacted on their GPA, retention, graduation and number of credits they would take for the academic semester and school year, as opposed to students who are not working. The article stated, “At the University of Utah, 43% of students worked year-round, close to the state’s average of 45%.” The study found that the University of Utah had the highest retention rates — 92% for non-working students and 86% for working students.”

“Being a point of reference for students that need help with technical support is beneficial to me as a student because it helps me feel more connected to campus and the student population,” said Southwick. “It also makes the job more enjoyable, when you are working with your fellow peers, there is a mutual understanding and respect for one another, and that is something I really appreciate.”

“What I like about working on campus is that your employers are more accommodating to your student course schedule and activities,” Fernandez said. “It is a good way to make connections and build your network. ”

The U has been credited as one of the largest employers in the state and also permits its faculty and staff to lower their student loan expenses. Many student staff members feel that the U provides a quality environment committed to treating its community in an equitable and fair manner. The U’s current employment opportunities in the evenings, weekends and holidays, current openings can be found on the U’s employment page. The U also provides resources and tools provided by the Career and Professional Development Center that can aid students in searching and applying for a job.


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