Students who are up to the job: Insight into the on-campus employment experience

The return of the academic year marks a new cycle of student employment, with both new hires and seasoned student staff working all across the Keene State campus to support themselves and develop lifelong skills and connections.

At any given time, Keene State College employs several dozen student employees to help facilitate the school’s various buildings and events.

“We’ve always aimed for our jobs to give students an opportunity to be engaged on the campus and feel welcome as part of a team,” said Jessica Gagne Cloutier, director of student involvement. “Over the past couple of years, we’ve tried to add to that, so that it’s not only about having that connectivity on campus, having a reliable job and income, and feeling involved, but also understanding how that connects to building skills that are going to be transferable beyond Keene State.”

Gagne Cloutier said she believes students who become involved on campus will be able to better perform in both their academics and whichever field they choose to pursue beyond college. According to her, the work student employees perform will hopefully aid them in improving their abilities to resolve conflicts, work in diverse environments, make their voices heard and develop useful technical skills. The Student Center gives these employees surveys to try and determine how effective the experience is at teaching such skills. Gina Nunziata, a communications major who works the front desk at the Recreation Center, agrees that on-campus employment has helped improve her workplace performance.

“Obviously I see a ton of different people all day everyday, so [the job improves] people skills and getting along and being able to help people,” said Nunziata.

Architecture major Arianna Gautreau, who is just beginning to work for the school this fall semester, said she hopes to take these opportunities for self-betterment.

Gautreau, who works as part of the Student Center’s BEST (Building Event and Services Team), said she is looking to build “better communication skills [and] more confidence to be more successful in the future.”  Much like Nunziata’s job, Gautreau’s involves a lot of interaction with different people who come to the desk.

According to both student employees, the opportunity to develop valuable skills is not the only perk of their jobs. Both Nunziata and Gautreau listed the flexibility of their positions’ hours as a draw. “I’d rather not have to drive off-campus, and on-campus is a little more flexible with scheduling,” said Nunziata. “And I can pick my schedule each week… I know it’s more money if you go off-campus, but it’s just not as flexible.”

“If I have classes or something, [the Student Center will] be more understanding [than an off-campus job] if I was late or had to leave early,” said Gautreau.

This is another of Gagne Cloutier’s goals for student employees. “We want students to ultimately be successful,” said Gagne Cloutier. “And so striking that balance between making sure they’re earning what they need to earn to be able to be here, but aren’t so exhausted that they can’t be present and fully be in the space, is hard.”

Collaboration between school faculty and student staff becomes a tool for trying to maintain that balance.

Gagne Cloutier said the Student Center collaborates directly with Human Resources to ensure the smooth operation of time card submission and pay deliverance.

“Our Time and Leave team probably hears from us the most,” said Gagne Cloutier. “Doing a lot of work there to make sure that students are able to enter their time accurately and get paid on time is really important.”

Often, collaboration can happen even with minimal intervention from Student Center faculty.

“We have a whole trade system so students can fill in for each other, and they do a really good job at that,” said Gagne Cloutier.

Gagne Cloutier estimated that the school hires around 40-50 students every year, around 30-40 percent of whom are work study students. However, regardless of the building they work in, through what means they are compensated, or how they go on to use the skills they’ve learned, Gagne Cloutier said her goal is that student employees will be able to embrace a feeling of connectivity with their campus and their fellow students.

“Every student who comes in and works in the building feels like they’re part of the team,” said Gagne Cloutier

Charlotte King can be contacted at

Share and Enjoy !