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The Scarlet & Black

Campus Jobs: The 19th Credit

Christopher H. Lee
Ty Battle ’17 observes the crowd at Mandolin Orange and Leif Vollebekk’s Gardner Concert. Photo by Chris Lee.

Over two weeks have passed since the new semester has kicked in, and the craziness of schedules has already taken over. Among all the academia, extra-curriculars and weekend-frolicking, many Grinnellians add work to everything else they’re juggling. Some need it as part of financial aid; others just want to earn extra pocket cash. Most first-years are quickly offered work in the Dining Hall, and that’s what they end up doing at the beginning. But what students may not know about is the sheer abundance of other jobs available throughout campus.

So what other options are out there? In order to gain a better insight on other opportunities, The S&B spotlighted three students with very different on-campus jobs: Andrea Lakiotis ’15 from the Technology Consultant Corps (TC), Benjamin Doehr ’15 from Lyle’s Pub and Mari Holmes ’17 from All-Campus Events (ACE) Student Safety.

Ty Battle ’17 observes the crowd at Mandolin Orange and Leif Vollebekk’s Gardner Concert. Photo by Chris Lee.
Ty Battle ’17 observes the crowd at Mandolin Orange and Leif Vollebekk’s Gardner Concert. Photo by Chris Lee.

Lakiotis and other employees of the TC corps staff the AV Center, Creative Computing Lab, the technology desk in Burling Library and the service desk. Their main job is to provide students with technological services, from getting their laptop connected to the Internet to maintaining printers and helping students create graphs in Excel.

Doehr is the manager at Lyle’s Pub. He is in charge of the other employees, called bartenders, who essentially run the pub during their shifts.

Holmes and the other ACE staff are present at all large campus events—including Harris parties and concerts at Gardner—and make sure that students can enjoy themselves while staying safe.

All three jobs are enticing for students, yet have relatively low hiring rates. Lyle’s Pub, for instance, already has over 50 applications for only a small handful of openings.

Even when hired, training awaits before one can jump into action. This varies between jobs, and out of these three the TC position has by far the most time-consuming training program.

“When you work as a TC, you have to train for a semester. Then after a semester of training we either hire you or not, depending on how you do in the certification tests at the end of the semester,” Lakiotis said.

Along with the semester of training and becoming familiar with the technology, there’s one particularly tough aspect of the job: the student body expects a certain level of competence.

“Students on the campus have the every right to believe that technology on this campus should work. Printers should work, the Internet should work … but the grand structural parts of technology on this campus is controlled by ITS [Information Technology Services], the professionals, not the TC corp. The most difficult thing is hearing students being upset about problems that we don’t have control over,” Lakiotis said. “It’s hard having middle ground between having authority over technology on this campus and yet not having control over it.”

Despite the difficulties, there are benefits. “The tight-knit community is incredible. People talk to each other, work with each other and become friends with each other,” Lakiotis said. “It’s also intellectually satisfying, [such as] troubleshooting … when you do find a solution it’s very rewarding. Also you have that technological skill under your belt when you graduate from college.”

Lyle’s Pub is located in the basement of the JRC, and unlike Bob’s Underground Café, which has regular hours, Lyle’s is only open when there’s an event held there.

This semester, some of the highlighted events will be Pub Quiz every Wednesday, Monday Night Football, biweekly karaoke nights starting next Friday, PUBTalks on Thursdays after Fall Break and even occasional study breaks near the end of the semester.

“The pub is usually staffed by one [bartender] at a time, but it’s staffed by two during large events,” Doehr explained.

Because the events vary, shifts are assigned at the beginning of each week.

“I think it’s a good job on campus because the hours aren’t consistent like those in the Dining Hall, but the flexibility, it’s great. If you’re busy that week, you got a paper to write or something, you don’t have to work that week,” Doehr said.

And that’s not the only benefit.

“The best thing is closing the pub. I get to blast whatever music I want while wiping tables, finishing up dishes and recording earnings for the night. It is an excellent time for me to practice my moves dancing on the bar,” bartender Becca Heller ’16 wrote in an email to The S&B.

“It’s a great environment to work in. Everyone that’s worked there, as far as I know, really enjoys doing it,” Doehr said.

That can be seen in the job retention. “Generally, people stick around,” Doehr said. “We’ve got a good number of employees who have been there for two or three years now.”

While Pub Raves aren’t everybody’s thing, there’s always Harris. The first Harris party came and went last Saturday, Sept. 6, and many saw the ACE Student Safety, or the “security guards.” But Holmes emphasized that ACE isn’t there to get students into trouble and ruin the fun.

“We’re there to make sure that everything is working well: that no one’s getting hurt, everyone’s safe and comfortable and also limiting the amount of sexual assault,” Holmes said. “We want students to think of us as a resource.”

So what is the training process?

“Before your first shift you get talks about being an active bystander, health and community building,” Holmes said. But for a job that is as action packed as ACE’s, the best way to gain skills is through experience. “There isn’t really an assessment after your [initial] training, because the only way to assess is though experience.”

Holmes’s first shift was a big shock for her, but she gained many skills, even though she has worked Security for only a semester. “I’ve definitely become more aware of spotting signs of danger at a party. And also being okay with calling people out, and being more assertive [when needed],” Holmes mused. “I’ve become more patient, and also learned not to take things personally. I’ve definitely grown a thicker skin.”

Other than gaining these essential life skills, there are more benefits to giving up a weekend to work.

“In this job, you are literally paid to go to parties. I love being around people, and there’s music, so it’s fun to watch people and have fun,” Holmes said. But the job is about more than fun. “If you’re going to work, you’re going to be alert and interact with people, being engaged and being aware of everything that’s happening,” she said.

These are just a few of the job opportunities on campus, but there are many rewarding options for students seeking employment at Grinnell.

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