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WIU Targets Job Opportunities to Freshmen

TSPR's Emily Boyer

Western Illinois University is increasing the number of jobs for freshmen in response to student demand.

A survey of Western’s freshman class showed 75% of them need or want to work while in school.

“We can’t quite create that many jobs, but we have shifted some of our resources to devote specifically to hiring freshmen on campus,” said Gary Biller, Vice President of Student Services.

The university this year made 155 jobs available to first-year students, compared to just 40 positions last year.  

Biller hopes campus jobs will encourage more freshmen to return for their second year. He said part-time jobs help students pay for college expenses, and help them make connections with university faculty and staff.

President Jack Thomas said the experience can also help students get acclimated to the university community.  

“Those two students in my office, they know they can talk to me anytime about anything,” Thomas said. “We work with them and it helps them get attached to the institution and it shows it helps with retention as well.”

Freshmen are not the only students with on-campus jobs. About 2,335 students across the university hold  campus jobs. They work 10-20 hours a week.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.