Discussion About International Student Job Opportunity

BY GENEVA NODLAND nodlandge@mnstate.edu

Recent concerns with international student job opportunity has sparked a conversation within administration to look into student employment throughout MSUM’s campus.

The discussion began within Student Senate last month, who then chose representatives to continue searching for answers. MSUM Student Senate Representative Mohammed Azad raised questions about the limited availability for international student work to Brenda Amenson-Hill, who said she is eager to take this opportunity to learn more about the employment situation.

Amenson-Hill, MSUM’s vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, has reached out to various departments on campus in an attempt to answer Student Senate’s questions. Sodexo has their own payroll system because they are a large employer on campus, so Amenson-Hill had to contact them separately as well.

Amenson-Hill said one concern that was brought up from Student Senate was that it seems like international students are only working for either Sodexo or high labor jobs. To look into that Amenson-Hill found a list of all international student employee positions outside of Sodexo.

From that report, she concluded that often there are positions in other parts of campus, but they are out of the students’ everyday vision. She said most offices around campus offer at least one or two student positions. 

“I was pleasantly surprised that there is a wider variety (of jobs) because it is true that you don’t see those students and where they work,” Amenson-Hill said.

It’s well-known that Sodexo offers a large amount of employment to students on campus. The majority of their employees are international students. According to information from Amenson-Hill they employ 115 international students. 

In addition to Sodexo, Amenson-Hill reached out to the financial aid and student payroll offices. In return she found that in the fiscal year 2019, the payroll had 147 international students, meaning just over 12% of student employees are international students. 

Amenson-Hill said that in correlation with MSUM’s mission toward diversity, having around 12% of the student employment be international students (keeping in mind that international students make up about 2.5% of MSUM’s enrollment) is a good thing. At the same time, she does recognize that working on campus is the only option for international students. 

“What I’m really listening to is what types of jobs (are wanted), because students want different experiences, it’s not just about the pay,” Amenson-Hill said.

As Amenson-Hill is looking for new job opportunities in different areas throughout campus, she is keeping in mind that some departments rely on more work study jobs for the budget. International students do not qualify for work study. She is looking at the departments that hire more non-work study and bringing light to this issue to those departments. 

Amenson-Hill said that from her conversations with the Student Senate representative, they aren’t asking for a lot regarding student jobs, just a few more positions for international students.

Moving forward, Amenson-Hill said she is continuing to discuss with Student Senate representatives where they can incorporate new opportunities. She also said she has and will keep in touch with the Center for Global Engagement. 

“That’s what we’re trying to do … understand what’s happening now and see if we can improve it for the future,” Amenson-Hill said.

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