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Uncommon university jobs offer individual experiences

Any student visiting a dining hall is immediately aware Culinary Services is hiring. Each residence hall occupant is all too familiar with resident assistant, or RA, positions. While several campus jobs are well-known, university student employment stretches much farther than the mailrooms and Alden Library. 

Madeline Thomas, a sophomore studying journalism, is one student who holds an Ohio University job many people never see: working in the Music and Dance Library in Glidden Hall.

“When I’m not doing homework, I’m checking out books, checking in books or putting CDs away — anything that has to do with music,” Thomas said. 

Thomas has been working at the library since August 2021 and said she loves working at a place many students are unaware of. 

“Nobody knows about it, so it’s kind of fun to be like, ‘Hey, I have this job in a secret little library. Come visit me. It's tiny and cute, and it's quiet,’” Thomas said. “You can hear the violin people playing up in the practice rooms, and it's so cool to hear that because it's like a little concert just for you.”

Often positions remain unnoticed because they serve a smaller community, such as International Student and Faculty Services, or ISFS, orientation peer advisers. Raijai Franklin, a senior studying child and family studies, holds the position for ISFS and also works as a front desk assistant for the office. 

The role helps international students settle at OU, providing online support before students arrive on campus. ISFS orientation peer advisers help new international students complete employment paperwork, offer off-campus housing help and give them tours of the campus and Athens.

“This position has opened me up to the world of an international student,” Franklin said in an email. “I help students coming from overseas get acclimated to life at Ohio University and point them in the right direction. As an American student, it has been a really eye opening experience.”

While Franklin is American, she has worked closely with international students. She said the position tends to be filled by students who went through the international orientation.

When an on-campus job hires individuals it already knows, it creates a smaller employment pool, perhaps adding to unfamiliarity among unaffiliated students. Erin Peterson, a junior studying communication sciences and disorders, is employed by OU in another little-known position, which she obtained as a Housing and Residence Life employee.

Peterson works at the intersection of Housing and Residence Life and COVID Operations, completing rounds and stocking inventory in the COVID-19 quarantine halls. 

Peterson said her job consists of twice-daily rounds, during which she spends her hour-long shift organizing clean and dirty linens for quarantined students, restocking supplies and generally ensuring isolated students have all they need. 

“I know if I was still in the residence halls as a freshman or sophomore, I'd want somebody checking and making sure the temperature in the building’s OK, the water’s running well, just making sure they're putting me in a safe environment, especially when you have COVID, and you're already stressed out,” Peterson said. “I just thought it'd be a good job to have.” 

Peterson said she has had a wonderful experience with everyone she works with, although she notes the staff for this job is small. Overseen by two university employees, Peterson shares inventory responsibilities with just one other student, and the pair rotate duty several times a week. She said the job works well for her but added expanding the staff may allow them to complete more rounds.

“Especially with Omicron becoming more apparent, COVID Operations is becoming a bigger, employable team,” Peterson said. “I feel like my job probably isn't even known to the students at all.”

Despite the COVID-19 work environment, Peterson said OU has done a good job of making her feel secure, allowing her to focus on ensuring students who have contracted the virus are living comfortably.

“They've made sure that we feel safe and that we have an outlet to voice our concerns to them,” Peterson said. “They're always really welcoming with ideas or any concerns. I'm happy to have the job I have.”

Little-known student positions may often employ a small number of staff, but there are many jobs to choose from. From student videographer positions to groundskeeping employment to summer conference assistants, there is a job for anyone. For campus employment that is currently hiring, visit the online student position listings.


Katie Millard


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