Mya Sedwick, Campus Carrier staff writer
The Gate of Opportunity Scholarship Program, Berry’s work-based scholarship, has recently undergone some changes in congruence with those to the LifeWorks Program. Since the minimum wage on campus is set to increase, Gate Scholars will experience a decrease in the number of hours they work per week. Currently, Gate Scholars are required to work 20 hours a week. Now, Gate Scholars will be required to work 16 hours a week, while students who are not part of the Gate Scholars program are only allowed to work up to 12 hours a week.
Gate Scholar Ben Prescott, sophomore, believes that the change in hour requirements will alleviate stress faced by those in the scholarship program. According to him, a reduction in mandatory work minimums will result in a reduction of tension for students working to meet those requirements.
“It’s going to be easier for all Gate Scholars, not just me [a student athlete] to meet their work hours requirements,” Prescott said.
Alongside this change in weekly hour requirements, the program will also require upperclassmen who receive the scholarship for the first time next year to work at The Spires. According to Chief of Staff Debbie Heida, The Spires is a Community Industry Partner at Berry. This means it serves as an off-campus extension of the LifeWorks program. Students working at The Spires, as well as at similar Community Industry Partners, are paid by the company, not by Berry. By the time The Spires fully opens, it will require 65 student workers to man various positions ranging from concierge to certified nursing assistants. According to Heida, this change in the program is only going to be in effect for a single year in order to jump start the work force at The Spires.
Only current students that apply for the Gate Scholarship will be affected by these changes. These students will be able to choose where they work at The Spire. Those positions will also be at the same level as their current one on campus. Gate Scholar Ben Lord, junior, thinks that the program’s involvement with The Spires might limit the experiential value of the LifeWorks program for incoming freshmen with the scholarship.
“In my mind, like if you’re a journalism major, there are some areas of experience that I’m afraid The Spires won’t be able to replicate,” Lord said.
While acknowledging and understanding some concerns of the student body, Heida believes that these changes will be beneficial. In her opinion, requiring new Gate Scholars to work at The Spires provides them an opportunity to try something new.
“I think it’s kind of venturing people into new territory that they hadn’t thought about before and my hope is that they actually love working there,” Heida said.