For just about three quarters of students, campus employment is an essential part of college life. 

Recently released data from the Student Employment Office with information from the 2011-12 academic year shows that 1,291 Bowdoin students held an on-campus job last year, and were paid an average of $8.64 during the academic year and $9.23 during the summer. 

The base pay rate for students is $7.75, 25 cents higher than the state minimum wage. Pay rates range from $7.75 per hour to $9.50 per hour during the academic year.

 The largest on-campus employer is Dining Services, employing  14.9 percent of all working students. 

Julia Mead ’16, a line server in Thorne Hall, has found her experience to be valuable thus far.

“I’ve learned a lot of new skills and met some really awesome people whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise,” she said.

She received her job through the First Year Job Placement Program, and says that it “worked very well.”

“It’s easy to mold my job to my schedule as a student first,” she said.
The libraries are the second largest on-campus employer, accounting   for 14.8 percent of student employees.  Jobs in Information and Technology and Operations employ 9.5 percent of students, while Residential Life programs employ 8.1 percent.

Last year, seniors had the highest rate of employment on campus: over 80 percent of the Class 2012 worked on campus. Sophomores and juniors both had roughly equal employment rates, with 344 of 510 students and 319 of 494 students employed respectively. 48.6 percent of the Class of 2015 worked an on-campus job, making it the class with the lowest rate of employment. 

Manager of Student Employment Kevin Johnson explained that the high rate of employment for seniors was not a result of preference being given to upperclassmen.

“Our policy is that departments shouldn’t give stated preference unless it’s essential to the function of the job—for example, a senior leadership position,” he said.

New jobs are also constantly being added at Bowdoin, including new titles for existing jobs as well as entirely new positions. During the 2011-12 year, wages provided by the College increased by $47,000, reflecting the addition of approximately 30 new jobs.

Peter Yen ’13, who has worked in the Café of Smith Union since his freshman year, was pleased that his job allowed him to advance.

“I’ve been a manager for three years, which has been a fun experience,” he said.
Johnson extolled the virtues of working on campus.

“Students can earn money and valuable work experience,” he said. “They get to learn how the campus works and make connections.”

Mead, who plans to continue her job next semester, praised Bowdoin’s system that gets students involved so heavily with Dining Services, saying that it “makes for a much better dining experience.”

“It’s nice to have that connection between people on the Bowdoin staff and Bowdoin students. To have that really positive connection is a good thing for the overall atmosphere of the College,” she said.

Kate Herman ’15, an employee at Jack Magee’s Pub, agreed that the connection to Bowdoin staff is fostered by student employment.

“The Bowdoin staff members I work with are amazing people—I love them,” she said.

“I would definitely say that student employment, especially the First Year Job Placement Program, is a good thing,” said Mead. “It really fosters a collaborative atmosphere within the College.”