Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

A student clutches materials at this fall's Career Fair, one of the events run each year by Career Services. Recently, Career Services has struggled in coordinating events with employers who go directly to preprofessional fraternities.

December 4, 2018

Cornell Career Services Looks to Improve Relationships with Selective Organizations

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For many Cornell students, becoming a member of a pre-professional fraternity means access to exclusive events and opportunities with future employers. These events, however, often conflict with each other and shut their doors to non-members, which limits participation.

“There are opportunities that the clubs provide for students to interact with employers that aren’t open to others,” said Rebecca Sparrow, executive director of Cornell Career Services. “Some employers will tell us, but some prefer not to tell us what they’re doing with the clubs.”

Sparrow said that when Cornell Career Services schedules events for employers — most of which are open to the entire community — they make sure there are not other events happening at the same time so students do not have to pick just one.

“One year we had two employers who were sponsoring case competitions on campus at the same time,” Sparrow said. “Nobody that was a finalists of one competition could even consider doing the other one. That doesn’t serve anyone’s interests. Trying to avoid those kinds of conflicts is important.”

Student clubs like to retain these private and exclusive connections in order to encourage students to join them. But in addition to the lack of coordination between the organizations, Sparrow said many employers now also choose not to reveal their interactions with selective student organizations on campus, making it harder for Cornell Career Services to operate effectively.

“We really want to make sure opportunities are not denied to students who are not in the clubs,” Sparrow told The Sun. “Employers may be excluding certain minority groups because that group wasn’t selected for club membership. They may unintentionally be discriminating.”

While CCS offers much more than job opportunities, including resume building, interview practice and helping students determine their career paths, providing post-graduate employment is still an important part of their mission, according to Sparrow.

She said they hope to increase communication with pre-professional fraternities and other clubs who have private connections with employers to expand the professional opportunities to more community members.

“You’re not helping your club members or the employer if you schedule something in opposition to a sanctioned university event. Then the student has to decide which event to miss and that leads to more stress,” Sparrow said.

She hopes to create a board of leaders from each student organization to improve collaboration with each other and career services. She also wishes the faculty advisors — a lot of whom are currently not involved in club activities — will play a larger role in the coordination.

“We don’t want to control creative ideas,” she said. “We want to make sure all efforts are leading to positive things.”