Thursday, July 18

The Quad: Upsides and downsides of on-campus jobs

The UCLA Store offers jobs for students with differing time constraints. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The UCLA Store offers jobs for students with differing time constraints. (Daily Bruin file photo)

This post was updated Nov. 4 at 4:30 p.m.

During the school year, many UCLA students opt to hold on-campus jobs. Some do it in order to pay for college as part of work-study, while others work for extra pocket money, valuable experience or another bullet on their resume. Compared to many off-campus jobs, ones on campus are convenient to travel to and tend to be more accommodating to ever-changing student schedules.

Here’s some insight from student workers on their on-campus jobs.

UCLA Store

Adriana Nguyen, a fourth-year political science student, became the lead supervisor at the UCLA Store in Ackerman a year ago, after about a year and a half on staff. As a supervisor, her wage is $11.69 an hour, while the starting pay for employees is $10.75 an hour, she said.

At the bookstore, the different positions are temporary workers, who work during the first two weeks of every quarter, permanent workers and supervisors.

The temporary and permanent workers’ responsibilities include receiving and tagging the books.

According to Nguyen, her responsibilities as a lead supervisor reach beyond that. One of Nguyen’s duties is making the schedules for the permanent and temporary staffers. She said she strives to provide flexible hours, a pro of working for the bookstore.

Nguyen said the beginning of the quarter, or the rush period, is the most stressful period of the job. The large influx of students scrambling to get their books poses a challenge to the bookstore workers.

The bookstore caters to both ends of the spectrum – students who want to work their way up to a job with more responsibility and greater leadership, and those who only want a short-term job to quickly make some extra money.

UCLA Library

The UCLA library system hires over 500 student employees, who work between 10 and 19 hours per week. Reeny Thomas, a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student, works as a Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons consultant at Young Research Library, the Powell lending desk and the CLICC lab in Powell. CLICC consultants are in charge of laptop and other technology lending, in addition to managing reservations for study spaces.

Thomas has been working as a CLICC consultant for a year, after it was recommended to her by a friend, a recommendation Thomas continues to pass on to others.

“The hours are very flexible,” said Thomas. “We’re also allowed to work on homework while we’re working on the job.”

Thomas also said that since the lab is open late, students can make up any hours they have to miss at times that are more convenient for them.

However, there’s one shift requirement that may scare off some: once a quarter, students must do an early morning shift from 2 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

UCLA Call Center

Most UCLA students probably have unread emails titled with the subject line, “Exciting Job Opportunity for UCLA Students!” from the UCLA Call Center sitting in their inbox – I know I do. Working at the UCLA Call Center entails calling alumni to solicit donations for the UCLA Fund. The pay is $11.25 an hour with a minimum requirement of nine hours a week. There are opportunities for bonuses, raises and tuition reimbursement, according to the Call Center’s website.

Liam Farrell, a second-year psychology and sociology student, worked as a caller for six months before becoming a supervisor. As a supervisor, Farrell is responsible for training the callers, taking attendance and doing payroll.

One aspect some workers view as a downside is the requirement to alert supervisors when a caller is unable to secure donations, which may be nerve-wracking to some. However, Farrell doesn’t view this rule as unnecessary pressure.

“The only reason why we ask the callers to do that is so that the supervisors can keep track of who’s not doing very well, so that we can listen to their calls and coach them,” said Farrell. “It’s not meant to be shaming them, but we just want to know what’s going on with your calls, and why they haven’t been working out.”

The Call Center is located above El Pollo Loco in Westwood, making it about a mile away from campus – a trek that some are unwilling to make. However, the job does have an upside in its flexibility, as the shifts are during the night and weekend, making them more likely to work with a student’s class schedule.

Audio Visual Services

The workers at Audio Visual Services make it possible for students to sleep through their 8 a.m. lecture, as they’re responsible for filming classes for BruinCast.

“We’ll set up the camera, one person will stay, film the whole lecture, bring it back here and then we take it to BruinCast to be processed,” said third-year linguistics student Ryan DeBoer, a part-time technician.

AVS technicians are on call to help professors who are having technical issues. For some special events, such as Bruin Day, they manage the audio and visual aspects.

Prior knowledge of audio visual equipment is not necessary for the job, as training is provided; what’s more important are people skills. DeBoer said this is because of the customer-service aspect of the job, since technicians need to deal with professors who are frustrated with equipment.

DeBoer said he would recommend this job because the starting wage is $12 an hour, and it increases by 50 cents every two quarters. In addition, DeBoer said the hours are very flexible with no restrictive requirements.

“There’s a good amount of downtime on the job” said DeBoer. “Even if you’re scheduled for a four-hour shift, you’ll probably only spend two hours of that filming, and the other hours you’ll be on call … to respond to any issues professors might have.”

Housing and Hospitality Services

There is a wide variety of jobs under Housing & Hospitality Services, including food service, front desk services and access control and safety.

Wing Hui, a third-year electrical engineering student, works at the front desk of De Neve Plaza, where he helps students with miscellaneous requests, such as getting new room keys.

According to Hui, working at the front desk can be relaxed and low stress. However, the shift times can pose a challenge.

“The hours are really bad,” said Hui. “You have to work graveyard shift every week. It’s midnight to 6 a.m., so when no one wants to be up, you have to be up.”

Although this job may seem less demanding than some other campus jobs, it requires handling student issues in a time sensitive manner. Often, there’s less flexibility in scheduling, especially for new workers.

“During the year, you have to work 12 hours minimum and 19 max,” said Hui. “If you’re a newer hire, they make you work the maximum because the older hires don’t want to work the maximum.”

Despite this, Hui recommends the job, and said he has strengthened his interpersonal skills by dealing with different types of people.


Although these are just a few of the many on-campus jobs offered at UCLA, their pros and cons are widely applicable to the other on-campus jobs available. Every job comes with benefits and drawbacks, so it’s up to each student to weigh their options and conduct their own cost-benefit analysis.


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Michelle Lin is a Daily Bruin Quad contributor. She writes about everything, but especially likes lifestyle and informative pieces.

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