New Student Employment Experience Committee seeks to improve working conditions for students

Last week, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson emailed the Georgetown student body about the creation of the Student Employment Experience Committee (SEEC). This new committee is the result of a collaboration between GUSA, the University’s Division of Student Affairs, Department of Human Resources, and Director of Business Policy and Planning.

In an interview with Vox, Julia Hubbell from the Office of the Student Worker Advocate said “The SEEC was created to identify the main issues students experience on the job and then give a set of recommendations to improve the student employment experience.”

The Office of the Student Worker Advocate, which was established last semester to help walk students through the process of addressing work troubles, believed that more administrative action was necessary.
Aside from facing issues such as hours worked, getting paychecks, or even finding the right people to talk to about work-related issues, students may still have to visit three or four different departments before resolving the problem.

Rising employment and RA issues made the creation the committee more urgent. RAs have experienced a lot of previous problems with housing, as Hubbell explained “Those problems arose because no one was talking about working conditions, either out of fear or because they felt nothing was going to change,” she said. “I wouldn’t want that to happen in any other workplace at Georgetown.”

The SEEC is a place for student workers to voice their issues and receive guidance on how to solve issues. Many students become frustrated with the process and either switch jobs or quit all together. The committee is determined to make sure this does not happen.

Although the committee has many goal, its next step is to publish a list of recommendations to improve the student worker experience by next October. Hubbell told Vox that a larger goal would be to create a student employee handbook that lists our rights, resources, and protocols for addressing problems. “We would like to see an addendum to the Just Employment Policy that specifically talks about student workers,” she said.

Last Tuesday, the new SEEC held a listening session to explain its goals as well as get feedback from student workers. When asked how the session went, Hubbell explained that it went well, but it is only the first step. “The committee needs to do much more active outreach to student workers, because these stories can be uncomfortable to share,” she said.

Students should not have to feel uncomfortable stating their issues or have no guidance on how to solve work problems. Hopefully the SEEC can improve conditions and be a source of guidance and support for the many Georgetown student workers.

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