Gold Student Center Could Cost Pitzer Students Jobs

As plans are made for the renovation of the Gold Student Center (GSC) at Pitzer College, students and administrators are preparing for a possible loss of on-campus student jobs.

The GSC, which will be renovated throughout the 2013-2014 academic year, employs 40 to 50 students per semester, said Chris Brunelle, Assistant Dean of Students at Pitzer. The GSC currently has student positions, both work-study and non-work-study, at the service desk on the first floor, the Shakedown restaurant, the fitness room, the administrative offices and the pool.

Brunelle said that there will be no need for the service desk position during the renovation. Depending on whether the Shakedown and the fitness center are able to operate from another facility, those positions could also be cut for the year, and if the pool is closed, there will be no need for student lifeguards, he said.

The issue was brought up at the Pitzer Student Senate meeting Sunday.

“We were charged originally with providing students to provide input on the design of the building, but what came up last meeting at Senate was the discussion that those work-study positions aren’t going to exist in the following year, presumably,” said Jonathan Rice PZ ’13, Chair of the Student Senate.

“Student Senate is working really hard right now to come up with new positions,” said Lisi Kent-Isaac PZ ’13, a student representative on the renovation committee. “We hope we can create things that can benefit the college in ways we never expected. It’s forcing us to be creative.”

For example, Kent-Isaac said she is working with Associate Dean of Students Jill Hawthorne to develop an idea for a student-run golf cart service. The service, which would transport injured students throughout the Claremont Colleges, could employ students as drivers.

Brunelle said Pitzer could look into offering work-study positions at McConnell Dining Hall as well.

However, he said, “In my personal opinion, students have ample opportunity to find employment.”

He said that many offices, including the Community Engagement Center and the college’s tutoring and note-taking services, are still looking to fill work-study positions.

Rice said that students are sometimes not aware of all available positions.

“From my perception, a lot of students have trouble finding work-study positions on campus even though they exist,” he said.

He said that the first week of school may not be the best time to hold the jobs fair, and that some offices do not publicize positions as well as others.

“We’d like to see more ways of students being able to make sure they can get those work-study positions and find them and fill them,” he said.

Brunelle added that many of the office positions that are still open might not be as appealing to students as some of the jobs at the GSC.

Senate Treasurer Bailey Masullo PZ ’14 works as an office assistant at the GSC as well as at the center’s service desk and fitness center.

“I definitely have certain responsibilities, but I choose jobs [where] I can do my homework,” she said.

She added, “I could choose to work at the Grove House or the Shakedown, but I have to be realistic about the classes I’m taking.”

Rice said that he thinks Pitzer should offer a range of jobs.

“It’s very desirable to have work-study positions that offer substantive experience,” he said. “At the same time, I think it’s important to have positions where students who are heavily involved can also earn their work-study allotment and complete their work.”

Director of Career Services Matt Donato said that employment during the school year is a valuable experience for students.

“It’s great to get out into the working world, on campus or off campus, and really build some professional skills that are going to be useful on a resume,” he said. “Any type of opportunity to build skills, learn new skills and really gain some measure of success, even if it’s sort of a desk job, or a job where you deal with statistics or numbers, or working in customer service—those are really good skills to have professionally."