This is my first year at Albion College. I can honestly say that I’m disappointed.
I remember going on my first tour of Albion. I was enthralled with the beautiful trees, immaculate architecture and the promise of academic excellence. My tour guide spoke of a walkable community where I could study, eat and work – without ever leaving campus.
Albion College itself shared a similar sentiment on its website, which states “At Albion, we believe that it is our responsibility to facilitate every student’s journey toward finding their purpose. One way that students discover this direction in life is to work while in college.”
Once I arrived on campus, I learned that the walkable community I was promised lacked a crucial aspect: its workability. I quickly realized that student job opportunities were scarce at best. I wondered if I simply wasn’t looking in the right places. After all, I recently transferred from Oakland Community College and I figured most jobs went to upperclassmen first anyway. However, I came to realize that many students, upperclassmen included, who previously held jobs, have been unable to get them back.
In late September of this year, there was a scathing letter titled, “The Albion College Community’s Letter to Leadership” written by numerous professors and alumni. Within the letter were multiple accounts of students who held jobs last semester, but were left jobless this fall. One of which was Jasmine Espinoza Ramirez, who worked at the Whitehouse Nature Center last year.
“For the last few weeks, I had to look for other jobs and I don’t really have financial stability,” Ramirez wrote in the letter.
In particular, I noticed students were impacted by the Whitehouse Nature Center’s lack of jobs. Said students needed jobs, not just for the purpose of discovering the direction of their lives, but for their overall well-being.
“I am a financially independent student. I know I am not the only one either. You are messing with a student’s ability to attend Albion, as well as pay for their next meal,” wrote Alyvia Martinez, Waterford junior. Martinez explained her situation in an extensive email to Interim President Calvaruso, which was embedded within the letter.
“I have been struggling to pay my college bill let alone get the supplies or food that I need,” said Ashley Beidler, Burr Oak sophomore. Beidler felt that the college had not done enough to get students back to their previously held jobs.
What is most frustrating about all of this is the lack of communication from the administration. Martinez addressed the school’s inability to disclose information in her email to Interim President Calvaruso.
“Firstly, even though all the nature center assistants (NCA’s) received an email from Jason [Raddatz] stating his resignation. I believe it is extremely unprofessional on the schools’ part for not sending us an email letting us know what next steps are being taken. It was your responsibility to let the NCA’s know that we will not be working immediately upon returning back to campus” Martinez wrote.
Martinez has received no direct response from Calvaruso, according to the letter.
This is not Albion College’s only communication failure. In fact, the mission statement on the college’s Student Employment Web Page is due for an update.
“Albion has outstanding opportunities for students to have meaningful work experiences that prepare them for the workplace of tomorrow, and increase Albion College’s value proposition through putting our talented students to work,” said the college website.
The promise of “outstanding opportunities for students” is a gross exaggeration of our reality. I applied to numerous on-campus jobs via Handshake at the beginning of the school year, and heard back from none of them. Those jobs, it seems, simply no longer exist.
It is a failure of this administration to be unable to provide adequate job opportunities to its students. I expected better, Albion College.
“As a residential college, we can and do provide developmental work opportunities students can connect to their academic and career goals,” said the college website.
I’m hopeful that in the future, this statement will be true.
Communication between Albion College and its students is imperative. Ultimately, it is the administration that is responsible for a student’s future. If an administration is not direct with its student population, then that future is at risk. We’re seeing it already, and it should not be allowed to continue.