Article written by Emma Bast.

Recently, St. Cloud State University hosted an event for their student employees. The Financial Aid Office, Student Life and Development, Strategic Enrollment Management, and the University College partnered to host a cookies and coffee event on April 7.

The event allowed student employees and graduate assistants to meet with one another and share their experiences, the things that they enjoyed and the things they might have been challenged by. One student, Bianca, works a lot with Resident Life. Her role as a community advisor (CA) is to make sure her residents are comfortable in their environment and have someone to talk to if they need it.

The goal of the event was to thank the student employees and graduate assistants, who make up the university community. “[They] help us accomplish our goals” states Dean of Students Jen Sell Matzke. The event was organized because the university “wants to tell students how we genuinely appreciate their work.” she continued.

The coffee and cookies event were attended by Deans of various colleges all talking with student employees and graduate assistants about their experiences working at St. Cloud State. The Deans were hoping to find ways to improve the student employee experience, taking testimony through an anonymous survey. Some Deans were discussing problems that student employees and graduate assistants who were in attendance were experiencing and were making plans on how they were going to move forward in resolving them. Dean Feng-Ling Johnson of the University College said that “students contribute to community [we want] them to feel like a vital part of the community.”

Another goal of the event was to further connect those employed at St. Cloud State with opportunities within the community. Mary Fesenmaier, also with the University College, says that they try to work with students to get them employment within their major or within a field desired after graduation. By working at the University, students have the opportunity to “see another side of the institution” and have “a greater sense of belonging” states Mary Fesenmaier.

“[Student employment] is an ability to learn the working environment, it is really just a good chance to get your feet wet,” Jen Sell Matzke commented. St. Cloud State has about 2,000 students who are employed through the university or approved organization, with positions opening every semester as students graduate.

The hope of the university is that the student employees and graduate assistants have mentors that they can work with to help them find employment once they have graduated. “We are all about the student’s success” stated Dean Feng-Ling Johnson.

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