The importance of student employment

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Student employment is incredibly vital to the functionality of the Brandeis campus. Our Brandeis University Medical Corps service is a volunteer, student-run emergency group that provides medical care to the Brandeis community. Additionally, the BranVan is a student-run shuttle service that helps students, faculty, and staff get to different parts of campus and Waltham. Our student research positions are also of great help to our community and faculty as more advanced researchers and contribute to academic projects and shape the curriculum of future class courses. Students can usually apply for these jobs through Workday, but the application process varies. Work-study students have priority for the first month of the fall semester. Brandeis advertises that it has over 200 student-run clubs and organizations. However, a large majority of students within organizations are not adequately compensated.

The services provided by these organizations and countless others are crucial to the well-being of the student body. While students who join these organizations are enthusiastic about helping others and willingly offer these services without financial compensation, it is not viable or realistic for full-time students to devote significant time to multiple clubs. for services that would be remunerated in other settings. This is especially a problem for students who have to choose between working part-time or volunteering in order to meet their financial goals. Last year, the Students’ Union approved a student leader payment program, under which four secure clubs – BEMCo, Waltham Group, the Student Sexuality Information Service and the Union – received annual stipends to pay select board members beginning fall 2022.” Funding for the total of $50,200 per year, payments will come from the Student Accessibility Fund, specifically skimming of the “off-the-top” funding category, according to a February 2022 Article Justice. This council applauds the measures taken by the Student Council to ensure the remuneration of students within the clubs and asks that the administration of the University become more involved in this process.

Unpaid work extends beyond student-run clubs and organizations. In the university setting, the policies of the different research laboratories vary considerably in terms of remuneration. Some students are paid to do research, while others have to volunteer their time and only get paid to do extra work in the lab. Since October 2021, undergraduate research and creative collaborations have approved new guidelines for participation in undergraduate research. “Under normal circumstances, students should either be paid or receive academic credit for independent research,” the guidelines state, “In exceptional circumstances, students may request to be allowed to volunteer outside of the structure employment and course for up to 4 months.” Exceptional circumstances include starting research in the middle of a semester and working over the summer if funding is not available, according to the website. Credit for research generally takes the form of a one-credit class, except for those doing a senior thesis, who receive four credits.

This council commends the URCC for its work to ensure that students involved in research are compensated – either through class credit or payment – ​​for their work. However, this board questions whether one credit is enough for the amount of work students put into research. While we understand that the one credit option is convenient for students who must complete 22 course credits, one course credit does not equate to what students would be paid if payment was the only option for researchers. main. This council also sees a problem with the implementation of these guidelines. Has the University developed a system to keep track of all students involved in research? Are there any consequences for teachers who do not follow these guidelines?

The current system, both academic and voluntary, relies heavily on the enthusiasm and passion of students. However, it also amplifies disparities within the Brandeis community, since only students who can afford to volunteer part-time can join certain clubs, organizations, and research labs. Work-study, while included in many students’ financial aid packages and a selling point for prospective students, often remains unfulfilled. Work-study, according to the Office of Student Financial Services, is a Brandeis and federally funded work program that is awarded to domestic undergraduate students. Under this program, students can work in an on-campus department or in an off-campus licensed community service agency.

However, there is a persistent problem for students who wish to meet the requirements of their studies in the workplace. In the article ” Work-study, but no workwritten by Mirabell Rowland, she notes that just because one qualifies as a work-study student doesn’t guarantee a job on campus. This is evident, in an interview with a Brandeis student , Rubaiya Nasim ’23, she details her experience of not being able to get a job despite participating in the work-study program Nasim says that “work-study jobs are kind of a lot more competitive than I thought. Sometimes you received a letter rejecting you, but sometimes some departments did not even send a notice.The lack of job accessibility for students on campus can lead to unforeseen financial difficulties and increased pressure on students to keep them afloat during the busy school year.

This council asks the University to increase the number of jobs available to students, so that those on financial aid can complete their package, especially as larger freshman classes increase demand. jobs on campus.

—Editor’s Note: Editor Jack Yuanwei Cheng ’23 and the Undergraduate Research Creative Collective; Managing Editor Natalie Kahn ’23 volunteers for the Brandeis University Medical Corps. They did not contribute to or edit the parts of the article relating to these organizations.

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