Student workforce recognized with week of special events

If you were on campus any day last week, you might have noticed it was busier than usual. A flock of wide-eyed accepted students were touring around campus, the rainbow flag was rising high in celebration of pride week and the Memorial Union turned into a central location for celebrating Student Employment Recognition Week.

This past week, the University of Maine’s Office of Student Employment held its 28th annual Student Employment Recognition Week. UMaine student employees were celebrated for balancing academics and work at the same time.

According to the Office of Student Employment, a total of 3,255 students are currently employed on campus. Some students hold more than one on-campus job, so in total those 3,255 students are employed in 4,201 positions. These numbers only represent students who work on campus. Many UMaine students also work off campus in the local community.

Student employees work in every single department on campus: the New Balance Student Recreation Center, dining services, student affairs, administrative offices, academic labs and more. Student employees comprise a significant role in the university structure. Needless to say, without them, the university wouldn’t function the way it does.

“They are a necessary part of the university system, so you need to recognize them,”

Ken Bundy, a teaching assistant in the math department, said. “Quite frankly, sometimes students don’t understand the professor, and teaching assistants provide another look at the material.”

Bundy attended several events that the Office of Student Employment put on last week. A lot of these events included a very tempting incentive for college students — free food.

On Monday, Darling’s Ice Cream Truck was parked on the University Mall to give out ice cream for students on a sunny day. On Tuesday, the smell of barbecue and Buffalo Wild Wings attracted rushing students to the Union. On Wednesday, dozens of boxes of pizza were gone in no time and on Thursday, the Union was filled with the lingering smell of bacon and pancakes. To top it all off, on Friday an ice cream social melted the hearts of passerby students.

“It’s a really busy time of the year for everyone, and food is a pick-me-up,” Bundy said.

On Monday night, the Office of Student Employment hosted a student employment recognition reception. The banquet recognized a supervisor, undergraduate and graduate student employees of the year. The winners for the respective awards are Scott Stitham from Collins Center for the Arts, Arthur Dodge Tucker from the campus recreation center and Derek Dubois from the student employment office. Dubois also won an employee of the year award on a state level.

“These people made a significant impact on people who work with them,” Connie Smith, a senior associate director of financial aid and manager of student employment, said. “This week is all about celebrating student employees and what they do for us.”

Julia Richardson, a student employee at the student recreation center, won a kayak that was donated by Old Town Canoe. Local businesses and campus departments donated $3,500 worth of prizes. Among those prizes were two-night stays at hotels, Sugarloaf ski resort passes and other gifts targeted toward the needs of college students, such as coffee machines and tire alignments.

“Many college kids cannot afford to eat out,” Smith said. Businesses like Riverside Pizza, Harvest Moon and the Bear Brew Pub donated restaurant gift cards for raffle prizes.

“We are a community based area and we are really fortunate for that,” Amy MacDougall, an assistant director and job locator of student employment, said. “We wanted to thank our student employees for everything that they do for this campus. It is tough to be a full-time student and either to have to or want to work at the same time. It takes a lot of time-management skills to be successful in both, so I am proud of them.”

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