GV students reflect on on-campus employment following Forbes recognition


GVL / Bri Conway

Zoë Murphy, Staff Writer

Forbes Magazine has recognized Grand Valley State University as one of the top employers in the state of Michigan in 2022.

According to Forbes, the list was constructed through input from 70,000 individuals working for organizations that employed at least 500 workers.

Ranking no. 33 on Forbes’ list of Michigan employers for 2022, GVSU has received the same honor in previous years.

In 2020, the same Forbes ranking put GVSU as no. 1 on its list of Michigan employers. It similarly ranked GVSU within the top 25 employers in 2021.

In addition to its thousands of faculty and support staff, GVSU also employs a large number of students through on-campus job opportunities.

GVSU has various job openings around its campuses such as positions in campus dining, student services and recreation and wellness.

Within these sectors, university employees like Mary Idema Pew Library employee Emma Sampley echo Forbes’ assessment of GVSU’s working conditions.

“I would definitely agree with Forbes Magazine,” Sampley said.

The university’s scheduling parameters for students, Sampley said, allows them to continue handling the responsibilities and experiencing the benefits of a collegiate lifestyle.

“The school only allows you to work a total of 25 hours a week,” Sampley said. “This allows a lot of extra time to get schoolwork done and to have a social life. The majority of students on campus end up working 10 to 15 hours a week anyways. The scheduling is very flexible and the staff knows that you are students.”

Sampley said the staff hired by the university is part of why she enjoys her job working for GVSU.

“It is a very nice job and the staff are the friendliest people I have ever worked with,” Sampley said. “I would recommend it to anyone.”

However, other employees had differing opinions about working at the university. Such opinions echoed months-long concerns over working conditions experienced by those in the university’s campus dining system – one of the most popular forms of student employment at GVSU.

Many first-year students get their meals primarily on campus, making campus dining an important aspect of the university and its employment opportunities.

One of the busiest places to work when it comes to campus dining is the Starbucks located in GVSU’s Marketplace.

This Starbucks is constantly flowing with students eager to be caffeinated during their busy lives as college students. Employees at this Starbucks are hardly ever standing still.

An employee who wished to remain anonymous reminisced on what it has been like working for this business in recent years, citing concerns they had with discrepancies between typical Starbucks locations and those on the campus of GVSU.

“I like working for Starbucks, but not for GVSU,” the employee said. “At the university Starbucks, employees are paid 33% less than we would get at a corporate Starbucks for doing the same job.”

University partnerships with private entities like Starbucks and the food service provider Aramark have been central to concerns voiced by students over working conditions at campus dining options under GVSU’s Laker Food Co.

In the wake of such concerns, GVSU has taken action with entities including the university’s Student Senate to take action and form the University Food Committee to address concerns.

Following the Forbes recognition, student employment conditions remain a concern for some still on the job.