By Brianna Gleghorn
Student employment opportunities at Youngstown State University are open for all YSU students to take advantage of, but with the coronavirus pandemic resulting in the closure of campus, some student employees’ positions have been altered.
Claire Berardini, associate provost for student success, said YSU student employees in every department will be given the opportunity to receive a paycheck for remote work they complete online.
“We didn’t want a single student who wants to work to have their wages discontinued,” she said.
According to Berardini, some on-campus jobs were easier to transition remotely than others.
“The only difference is that instead of working in an office on campus, they’ll be doing it from home,” she said.
Berardini said the transition to working remotely online hasn’t been easy for all student employees.
“Their jobs just don’t readily make that possible,” she said. “We have given this direction to supervisors that all of our current employees will be able to work remotely.”
According to Berardini, supervisors can create work for employees to help their department while working from home.
“We’ve given supervisors a lot of examples and ideas about how they can find new types of work for their students to do within their department that can be done remotely,” she said.
Berardini said she acknowledges this work style will not fit every department and has a second option for supervisors.
“There’s going to be a group of supervisors who really just absolutely cannot think of anything,” she said. “There’s nothing that can be done to advance or assist their departments. So, we’ve created about three or four kinds of out-of-the-box projects that any student can work on.”
Student employees that chose to continue working but can’t complete their job remotely can be given projects that help the university while maintaining their income, according to Berardini.
“The supervisors are going to continue to act as the supervisor for their student employees, and they’re going to consult with those students about which of those projects the students would be interested in completing,” she said.
Even with these options, Berardini said some student employees have decided not to continue working for the remainder of the spring semester.
“That’s okay; that’s their choice,” she said. “But we don’t want to leave a single student who’s relying on those wages without the ability to earn those wages.”
Cameron Oleksa, a sophomore accounting major, said he was stressed when he first heard about all classes being moved online, and he wasn’t sure if he would still have a job.
“I commute to campus and worked on campus for parking services as a main source of income,” he said. “I have to work on schoolwork while being stressed out if I’m going to be able to pay my bills.”
Oleksa said his job with parking services has taken a different direction than expected.
“I don’t think this is a job you can perform at home,” he said. “But this week one of the managers called me with a task for me to perform.”
Oleksa also works at a movie theater that has been closed due to Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at- home order that closed all nonessential businesses.
“At the same time, I work for a movie theater, so I had two jobs and then I had none,” he said.
YSU student employees went back to work remotely online on March 30 and will continue until the end of the semester if they chose, according to Berardini.
Michael Greco, assistant director of student tutorial services, said moving classes online was a big transition for student tutors.
“We had over 1,000 appointments scheduled that recur on a weekly basis,” Greco said. “When the announcement was made that everything would be shifting to online, all those preexisting appointments were going to have to shift.”
Greco said student tutors underwent training to learn Cisco Webex, a software used for video conferencing, to continue tutoring students.
Student tutors were given the option of continuing employment, and several decided not to for various reasons, according to Greco.
“I lost about 20 of them due to this transition,” he said. “They all gave a variety of reasons why they wouldn’t be available. There were some of them that online was going to be a huge task for them to transition.”
According to Greco, the transition would not have been successful without the work and support of the tutoring staff.
“I could not have transitioned without their help,” he said. “I mean, they’ve been really great at attending the training, asking questions, communicating with one another, reaching out to their students and so they’ve been doing a great job in this transition period.”