Work-study is an essential part of many Georgetown students’ experiences. Students can work at a variety of offices on campus, like the Office of Residential Life or the Office of Facilities, but university clubs and departments should expand their job offerings to students on financial aid. If certain organizations, like Students of Georgetown, Inc. and D.C. Reads, can afford it, they should expand their employment of financial-aid-dependent student workers. On the other end of the spectrum, the university’s administrative offices should consider expanding their work-study offerings.
Large student groups are highly visible and accessible for students, offering hundreds of sometimes-paid positions. If The Corp formally allocated a larger percentage of positions solely for financial-aid-eligible applicants, the organization could better fulfill its mission statement of “students serving students” while helping working students integrate into student life. Many traditional work-study positions available to students on financial aid do not offer the dual benefit of a job and involvement in a student group, so the organizations that do field this unique capability should take advantage of their standing.
Consider student-organization-based scholarships. If organizations increased the number of work-study positions, the money saved by having the federal government fund the majority of these students’ salaries could be invested in more scholarship programs and grant funds. In turn, these efforts would make it possible for students to participate in a variety of enriching activities that range from studying and researching abroad to completing philanthropic projects. Considering Georgetown’s commitment to fostering diversity within all facets of student life, an expansion of work-study positions for students on financial aid would be a bold way to reach out to students, many of whom may come from low-income backgrounds.
Both administrative departments and students would benefit from opening more positions typically marked as work-study preferred or required to all students. The university, on one hand, would make use of students’ talents and intelligence. The communications office, for example, could better develop its Georgetown Stories program with input from a more diverse array of student consultants. The communications department could create positions for students to draft the university’s social media messaging for the panoply of events happening on campus. More student positions within the communications and marketing departments could serve the university well in developing a stronger brand for the school, one that is grounded in reality and truly representative of a wide variety of students who love and embrace the Georgetown identity. And in other departments, administrators would benefit from the same injection of student vision and fresh ideas for events, outreach programs and outside partnerships.
For students, on the other hand, these efforts to incorporate student voices and perspectives within Georgetown’s administration would help them feel like they have a greater stake in how the university is run. Students have been, for years, clamoring to be a part of the process of running the school, and through substantive, rather than just simply menial, work-study jobs, student engagement should rise dramatically as well. There is also the clear financial benefit of a wider availability of on-campus work-study positions considering the amount the federal government takes over in financing such job opportunities.
The advantages of an expansion of need-sensitive work-study positions are clear. By tapping further into the student labor pool for work-study jobs, the administration and student-run organizations can seek to bring new perspectives into their offices and coffee shops.
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