Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
On Tuesday, Chief of Staff Debbie Heida attended SGA in order to discuss the proposed changes to the LifeWorks program. After a brief presentation regarding the structure of those changes, the timeline for the process, and the motivations behind the change, Heida opened the floor for a question and answer session with students.
Students had questions regarding the logistics behind the change. Several had concerns about what changes they would see to their own jobs and job schedules and others asked how the new system would work.
One student asked Heida about work sites on campus that needed staffing 24 hours a day, like the animal production units.
“There are some places that we will have to hire new students to be on the team to cover the hours needed to do those things,” Heida said. “But it doesn’t automatically give us an exception to each student to exceed hours. They might need students as part of that work force.”
Junior Shelby Sims asked whether larger student work offices with regularly produced content would lose student work positions. Heida explained that any cuts would be made by the individual department.
“It depends on how people are going to rearrange the work,” Heida. “There will have to be reductions, and each person in each department is going to have to decide how they do it among themselves. They are in the middle of those conversations right now.”
Another student asked if this change would set a precedent for future change to the number of hours students can work if minimum wage rises again. Heida explained that the administration will have to find other resources in order to maintain the experiental value of the student work program.
“What we’ve recognized in this is that this first step, we can absorb,” Heida said. “As we look to the future and as minimum wage goes up, we will have to figure out how to add more money into the system. We don’t want to reduce further because we want you to have the experiences that give you an edge when you graduate in terms of jobs and things we think are valuable in terms of our work program. We can absorb the shock from step one, we will have to find some new resources for step two.”
In general, Heida recognized that the changes to the LifeWorks program will be an ongoing process and encouraged students to offer feedback.