While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted employment opportunities across the globe, the need to minimize the spread has continued to employ students on campus. This fall, BYU-Idaho has hired 958 new students employees.
Managers in Event Services, Facilities Management, and Student Support have all hired additional student employees within the last semester. This creation of job opportunities on campus has allowed more students to earn work experience, gain responsibility, and increase their income.
Event Services Manager Darik Anderson says he has noticed how increased job opportunities have given his student employees the chance to improve their mental health, and professional development during this challenging time.
“Several of my student employees have expressed to me how grateful they are to be able to work and receive a paycheck when many others aren’t able to,” Anderson said.
All the newly created student jobs focus on creating a clean, sanitized, and safe space for students and faculty on campus. These new jobs have allowed BYU-Idaho to stay open and even continue to hold activities on a smaller scale.
This semester, Anderson’s student employees have served in many different ways. This includes Event Services employing 2 office assistants, 6 event coordinators, 5 cashiers, and 48 ushers.
While Anderson employs dozens of students each semester, the jobs have evolved due to COVID-19. Instead of ushering campus events, his ushers are focused on enforcing social distancing and wearing masks during student activities, intramural sports, and in heavy traffic areas in the Manwaring Center.
Facilities Management Services Director TJ Ashment has hired about 90 additional students in his department this semester with the task of sanitizing buildings between and during classes.
In March, Ashment and his team created a daily training for his department that encourages his employees and colleagues to follow the leaders of the Church by keeping a positive focus on the gospel each day.
“Those who participated in this training have experienced daily thoughts that have had a positive influence in their life as they learn to bear the trials that this year has thrust upon us. We have continued this training since March, and it has been enjoyable for me and my entire team,” Ashment said.
Student Support Coordinator Renee Christensen oversees the campus events held by Student Support. Due to Student Support’s increased staff and creativity, BYU-Idaho students have been able to get students out of their apartments and socialize with other students while staying engaged in university activities.
Christensen says the work her student employees do benefits the mental and physical health of BYU-Idaho students.
“Students need to connect. We have been given bodies, and one of the amazing things that come with a physical body is the actual human connection that comes with physically socializing with each other.” Christensen said.
With both full-time employees and their student employee teams learning to adapt to the needs of the university, the university is able to continually operate while providing both educational and employment opportunities.
“If we can help provide a safe environment for everyone, then cases stay low, hospitals stay below capacity, lives are saved, campus stays open, the local economy stays open, and everybody wins,” Anderson said.