Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Jobs at Swarthmore seem like pretty standard campus employment. Students work everywhere from the library to offices to the Mary Lyon breakfast room. Jobs pay between $7.98/hour to $8.56/hour. Most students who want jobs can get them, either to fulfill work/study requirements or to earn some money separately from financial aid. It seems pretty basic, but is Swarthmore’s job situation typical of colleges around the country?
Students across the nation work in the library. Soracha Peterson ’11 from High Point College in High Point, NC explained that she “work[s] at the library under work study and … get[s] $6.15 an hour. The pay on campus isn’t great, but isn’t bad; also compared to home [Connecticut] the cost of living … is lower, therefore the salaries are lower.”
Jobs working for departments are also common. Laura Servedio ’11 from Quinnipiac University in New Haven, CT says “I do office work for 7 hours each week. [I] staple papers, make labels for folders- little jobs like that- organize and alphabetize papers, and, if I have time, do my homework.”
Some jobs, though, are different. For example, according to Shout, Carleton College’s online news source, students can get a job nude modeling for the art department. According to the article by Margaret Taylor, ’10, “Each model spends about 6 hours a week posing in front of a room full of Carls. For a hefty $9.28 an hour, they’re also on the clock during open drawing sessions in Boliou on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings.”
Swarthmore is unusual for not having a student work force in the dining hall or at the coffee bars. At Bryn Mawr, for example, all first-year students who have a campus job work for Dining Services. That said, Williams College also doesn’t hire student workers for its dining hall staff. Instead, its career pages lists jobs like Gallery Monitor, Box Office Assistant, and Mailrunner.
Salaries also vary dramatically—and Swarthmore seems to be on the lower end. At Swarthmore, most students receive $8.56/hour. At Yale University, however, starting salaries are $11.30 and rise to $13.30. Stanford offers a complex system with twelve tiers and pay ranging from $11.40 to $16.30. The University of Texas has student wages ranging from $8.50 to $14.00 for Computer Science mentors.
Campus jobs are not incredibly different around the country; in fact, Swarthmore jobs are fairly typical. Swatties spend hours on campus shelving library books, watching the game room, and doing paperwork for departments. They aren’t the most fascinating jobs, but they bring in a bit of money that is used for tuition, books, and spending.