March 26, 2009

Job Fair Draws a Meager Crowd Despite Recession

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Even in the midst of the current economic crisis, few students wandered in and out of Willard Straight Hall’s Memorial Room where CampusLife hosted a job fair yesterday for on-campus employment opportunities for the current spring, summer and fall semesters. Representatives from several different departments, such as information systems and Cornell dining, waited for employment-seeking students behind tables with information, applications, business cards, free pens and cookies.
When asked if the economy has affected on-campus jobs, Melanie Ciotoli, CampusLife human resources manager, said that “there has not necessarily been a cut back on employment positions” overall and continued by saying that each department seeks different needs at different times.
Jacob Sanchez, CampusLife administrative assistant, agreed with Ciotoli in that they have not cut back in student positions and that the number of applications they receive have been fairly consistent with no drastic changes throughout the school year. Sanchez added, however, that there has been a reduction in working hours in the CampusLife management office.
Standing behind the table for the Carol Tatkon Center, Jasen Bell ’09 agreed that the current economic situation has left the center relatively unchanged.
“I can’t make a definite statement yet, but hiring levels are the same [for the Carol Tatkon Center] because our greatest strength is in the students,” Bell said. “We have been looking for ways, instead, to handle our budget internally rather than cutting back on positions.”
Alan R. Dedrick, West Campus assistant operations manager, agreed with Ciotoli by asserting that in spite of the economy, Cornell Dining has been able to maintain the same number of positions because the University still needs to feed the same amount of students. [img_assist|nid=36280|title=Looking for work|desc=Andrew Sargent ’11 talks to a representative from Cornell Catering yesterday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“[But] the current [economic] situation has made it easier to hire students because they have more of a, shall we say, need for it now because perhaps [their parents] have gotten the message across that if they want pocket-money, they need to find their own way to get it,” Dedrick said.
Chikaodili Okaneme ’11 wholeheartedly agreed after going around to each different table to see what employment opportunities were available.
“I need the money!” she said with a laugh. “I also need it to build up my resume … but my tuition went up this year more than I had expected. Work study puts a cap on how much I can get, and I need more hours. … It’s a lot more stressful, and it’s not like [getting a job] is something I can put off anymore. I have to get it now!”
Other students have also been impacted by the economy and need jobs to pay for, or assist in paying for, the increasing tuition.
“Basically, it will be easier for my parents for tuition,” John Kim ’12 said. “I can assist them by getting a job.”
Natalie Kacik ’12 said that with upcoming expenses she needs to look for an additional money source.
“Last semester I wasn’t looking for a job, but with summer coming up, I want to save up for text books … for next semester,” she said.
Some students, like Irene Shao ’11 who has already been hired as a summer resident community advisor (RCA), are looking for a second job to combat the rising cost of University tuition.
“It’s all in terms of tuition,” Shao said. “Internships have cut pay or have completely removed pay, so instead of getting an internship, I decided to get a job this summer because I still have to pay a significant amount of tuition. The summer RCA is part-time, so I’m looking for something that’s maybe 15-20 hours a week on top of that.”