Student + Employment = Student Employment

Happy National Student Employment Week!! That’s right, it’s a thing. AND, here at the Office for Student Engagement, we would just like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of you who are student employees.

Did you know that there are more than 10,000 of you on the U of M campus? This means that roughly 1 in every 5 people you walk past on your way to class is employed by the U. I know what you are thinking – dang.

Truth be told, the university student employees are an instrumental part of making sure this institution functions on a day to day basis. Don’t believe me? Let me break it down for you.

-Have you ever eaten a meal in one of the dining halls? Student employment.

-Have you ever checked out a book at a campus library? Student employment.

-Have you ever met with a Strengths Coach? Student employment.

Think you still don’t need them? How about this last one:

-Have you ever, even once, gone to class? Boom. Student employment.

That’s right. Many students are unaware of this fact, but there is actually a team of individuals that go around to classrooms throughout the week to make sure equipment is functioning properly, and supplies are well stocked for professors and students.

So, when I say that these students are an important part of the U, do you believe me now? If not, I highly encourage you to jump on to the UMN Employment website and have your mind blown by the super wide range of positions that you didn’t even know existed. AND, while you are there, feel free to apply to any one of those openings!

To wrap it up for the week though, I would once again just like to give a heartfelt thank you to all of you who currently are working on campus, regardless of your position. We need you to make this place both operational and enjoyable, and you are doing a great job at both!!

For those of you not employed by the U, I encourage you to give it a try! Student jobs offer great pay, flexible hours, and wonderful professional development opportunities. If it doesn’t interest you, that’s fine too, I just want to ask that each and every one of you takes a moment to appreciate those around you who work hard to make this campus so great.

Hey, it is National Student Employment Week after all, how about giving them a high five and a smile!?!

Time to Get Started

Last week we talked about the benefits and importance of volunteering. This week, we encourage you to get started!! 

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Mentor
Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota is seeking volunteer mentors to serve participants in programs focused on securing employment, healthy relationships and financial literacy.   Both one-on-one and group mentoring options during daytime and evening hours. Must be comfortable with diversity and able to offer support.

Evening Group Activity Assistant
Assist in planning a group activity (with supervisors) for clients who have suffered brain injuries at Restart, Inc.  Twin Cities locations, weekend evenings, training provided, six month commitment required.

Carousel Volunteer
Historic Cafesjian’s Carousel spent 75 years at the State Fair and is now located in Como Park in St. Paul. Seeking volunteers to help operate the ride, greet & assist visitors, sell tickets & gifts, and sharing historic carousel information. Volunteers ensure visitors a fun and safe time for all.  Weekday and weekend shifts, day time. They especially need volunteers for afternoons and weekends.

Como Regional Park Garlic Mustard Challenge
Community members are invited to help remove garlic mustard, an invasive species, in Como Regional Park on the morning of Saturday, May 24. Open to volunteers of all ages. Conservation Corps Youth Outdoors crews and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation will lead volunteers in the project. Gloves, garbage bags and refreshments will be provided.

Become a Foster Parent
Volunteers of America-MN is looking for dedicated singles or couples to help in their foster care programs: Therapeutic Foster Care and Emergency Shelter Care. Hundreds of youth in the Twin Cities are displaced and need a safe, stable home. VOA provides foster parents with friendly training and 24 hour on-call support, and a small monetary reimbursement (to assist with the expenses).

Give Back on Easter
On the third Sunday of each month, admission to the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul is free. This year, April’s Free Sunday falls on Easter, April 20. Here’s an opportunity to give back on that day. Greet visitors, help manage the line, answer questions, give directions, assist visitors as they navigate through crowds and play with kids. Four-hour shifts, morning or afternoon.

Garden Guru
Aeon provides quality, affordable housing near downtown and South Minneapolis.  If you love to garden, consider adopting one of their properties. Seeking individuals and small groups who will come by a property weekly during the growing season to plant, weed, water, and tend to flowers. Plants are provided. One to two hours a week–any day, any time! Youth welcome with adult supervision.

Personal Transportation Driver
DARTS is seeking drivers to provide personal ride service to seniors who cannot easily use the Transit Link bus service. Seniors are living in Dakota County and need rides to various metro areas for their appointments. Mostly daytime to medical appointments. Flexible schedule.

Help Seniors Pick Up Free Groceries
Volunteers needed at Second Harvest Heartland in Maplewood to distribute boxes of groceries through a federally funded program. Volunteers assist SHH staff in sorting food, and help seniors carry boxes to their vehicles.  This position is physical, fast-paced, and requires volunteers be able to lift a 30 lb. box.  Morning and afternoons, 3-hour shifts. Please commit to 4-6 months.

Cheerful Givers provides birthday gift bags to disadvantaged children through shelters and food shelves. Instead of a traditional party, send invitations to a Cheerful Givers Un-Event where guests don’t need to attend at all. Instead they can stay home and donate to provide birthday gifts for children who are homeless or living in poverty on their birthday.

HandsOn Twin Cities
2021 E Hennepin Av
Suite 420
Minneapolis, MN 55413

(612) 379-4900




Volunteering…just do it.

Fact: Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health. Fact: Volunteering looks great on a résumé. Fact: Volunteering provides an opportunity to build an incredible network of friends and potential future employers. Fact: the number of students that volunteer during college is slowly declining.

Wait, what? Declining? But didn’t we just list like three super solid reasons for why someone SHOULD volunteer? Indeed we did. So, this raises the very relevant question: “why are students not engaging as much in volunteering these days?” The answer is dreadfully simple: TIME.

If you are anything like myself, then you are probably wondering “what does a popular waiting room magazine have to do with a drop in collegiate volunteering numbers?” OK, odds are, that that was not at all what you were thinking. But, just to be clear, I am referring to time, that preciously limited commodity we all wish we had more of, and in the case of Justin Timberlake’s character Will Salas, something people will even risk their lives for.

Now, before I get all side tracked and start rambling on about sci-fi movies, let me get back to the topic at hand. The point I am trying to make is this: we get it, time is valuable, and as college students, it often seems that the longer you are here, the less time you actually have. So why am I asking you to carve out even MORE time out of your busy schedules to “give back” a little? Because, honestly, it’s worth it.

And, when I say that it is worth it, I am not talking about resume boosters or professional networks. You see, when you take time out of your day/week to invest in a cause bigger than yourself (especially when it is something you are already passionate about) it just down right feels good to give. I know from experience that the benefits of donating a few hours of my time far outweigh the costs, and I have yet to meet a single person that regrets a single minute they spent volunteering.

So, like Nike (and the title of this blog) says, just do it. Find a cause you love/interests you, and start volunteering today. Well…maybe tomorrow is more realistic. Start volunteering tomorrow! If you ARE ready to start, but don’t know where to begin, you can either consult the Community Service Learning Center, OR, just like EngageUMN on Facebook and receive weekly updates for all kinds of incredibly fun and unique ways to volunteer.

Top 10 Volunteer Oppurtunities

Drivers Needed

Drive a Senior to Medical Appointments
St. Anthony Park Area Seniors seeks volunteer drivers to help seniors get to their medical and dental appointments. Once a month or more often if your schedule permits.  You will receive gratification from knowing that you will be helping a senior maintain his or her independence.

Theater Driver/Chaperone
Project SUCCESS uses theater to inspire young people to explore the possibilities in their own lives and in the world around them. Project SUCCESS provides all of its students and families with the opportunity to attend professional theater performances at no cost. We are in need of volunteer drivers to join our families for an evening of theater and provide them with transportation.

Blood Transport Driver
Memorial Blood Centers seeks drivers to transport blood to area hospitals and ensure that community hospitals have the blood they need. Valid MN license and good driving record required. Vehicle (mini-van or smaller) provided.

Receptionist Opportunities

Help out at the Neighborhood Involvement Program in Minneapolis. Greet clients, assist with client check-in and check-out process, handle fees, and various assigned tasks. 3 hour shifts available in the evening or daytime hours. One or more shifts per month desired. Training is provided.

Phone Relief Receptionist
DARTS, located in West St Paul, is looking for volunteers to answer phones once a week for a 3 hour shift, to relieve the office manager.  Easy phone system to help direct callers to the right person.   Friendly office atmosphere. Monday thru Friday business hours.

Employment Action Center, a division of RESOURCE, provides career counseling, job search assistance, and work readiness training. They are looking for a volunteer to serve as the receptionist at their Brooklyn Center location. Greeting clients, alerting staff to appointment arrivals, answering main phone line and directing calls. Mornings and afternoons, M, Th, F.  Six hours per week.

Other Opportunities

Rock Star Tutor
Rock Star Supply Co. provides students with one-on-one or one-on-some tutoring support in all subject areas. Their tutors help students set homework goals, complete assignments, and develop a life-long love of learning. Volunteers needed at their offices in St. Paul or at three St. Paul high schools. Weekly 90-minute tutoring sessions.

Mentor a North Side Youth
Kinship is a Christian-based mentoring program for children, ages 5-15, who are in need of additional adult support. Kinship is looking for individuals, couples and families who are willing to spend at least one hour a week for one year with a child located in North Minneapolis.  Training provided. Serving Hennepin and Anoka counties.

Outreach Liaison
The Karen Wyckoff Rein in Sarcoma Foundation works to raise funds and awareness of sarcoma cancers. Volunteers needed to coordinate the distribution of Rein in Sarcoma informational materials with sarcoma medical clinics and other support establishments.

Open Door Learning Center
Open Door Learning Center offers free adult education classes at five different locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Classes include ESL, GED, computers, citizenship, math and employment preparation. All sites are accessible by public transport. They are seeking classroom aides or teachers.

HandsOn Twin Cities
2021 E Hennepin Av
Suite 420
Minneapolis, MN 55413

(612) 379-4900



It’s Time to Change the World

Have you ever had a really great idea? Not just a passing thought that seems profound at the time, but a REALLY TRULY good idea. Have you? I would like to think that I have, and I cannot be alone in this feeling. After all, with a progressive, bright population of students here at the U, we as a campus are bound to have hundreds upon hundreds of truly great ideas.

But as students, sometimes fashioning these dreams into reality seems just simply too difficult. But why?! Is it a lack of experience? Is it a lack of resources? Or a lack of a particular skill perhaps? Whatever the reason, it can be rather aggravating for those of us with intense ambitions to be sidelined by a simple lacking.

Thankfully, due to the recent opening of Co-Lab, the days of unharnessed potential are over. “What is Co-Lab?” you may ask. Well, to directly quote the website, “Co-Lab is the first collaborative workspace at the University of Minnesota where students from all areas of study gather to develop entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.”

In short, it’s an awesome place to do awesome things. It is a place where students from all different backgrounds, majors, jobs, and experiences can come together to cultivate their passions and potentials into world changing ideas and products; and, with access to in-house graphic design, marketing, web development AND app development interns, becoming a member at Co-Lab skyrockets your chances of success in any venture.

A short while ago, I sat down with the co-founders of the lab to discuss their vision for the workspace, and quite simply, they want students to know that “you really can change the world.” They also mentioned their aspirations for the future of the initiative, saying that if things go well, they would love for Co-Lab to become a permanent resource for students on this campus, and potentially even spread to other campuses around the country.

When I asked John Melgaard (one of the co-founders) why he wanted students to engage in Co-Lab, he said (I’m paraphrasing) that it is not just about completing projects for the sake of work, but rather, to create an environment here at the U where students DESIRE to be a part of innovations and solutions to the same level as the staff, faculty, and state legislators.

So, as I asked before, do you have any great ideas? I know I do. Join Co-Lab today.  

Reason to the Madness

I’m not sure if you were at the Minneapolis Convention Center last Friday, but the U of M Job and Internship Fair was, as they say, off the hook. Perhaps not the thumping music, strobe lighted, crazy raging “off the hook,” but still…it was pretty great. AND, considering it boasted 270+ employers and 1,900+ students in only 6 hours, to say that it was a “popular event” would be a bit of an understatement.

But why exactly IS it such a big deal? Why would students brave the bitter cold and post-blizzard road conditions in their nicest clothes to prowl around a convention center chatting up strangers? Well, as you may have heard, the current state of the economy is…hmmmm…should we say, less than stellar? Granted, it has been doing better these past couple of years, and we are nowhere near the former crisis mode of 2008, but still, the days of guaranteed jobs for all new college grads are long gone. These days, employers are looking for more than just a degree. They are looking for experience.

This is where the fair comes in. Steven, a first-time job fair attendee told me that he came to the fair to “get a feel for what employers are out there, and make connections which can be utilized for future work opportunities.” You see, it’s not JUST about finding a summer job to help cover rent expenses, it’s about your future. Kristina, a senior I spoke with on Friday said the she felt all students should attend, regardless of age, major, or current work situation. In fact, she went on to tell me that she ALREADY had a job prior to the fair, but thought it best to attend anyway. After all, actions do speak louder than words.

Still not convinced it is worth your time? That’s alright, I get it. As a fellow skeptic, I understand the hesitation to accept the ramblings of a random blogger. However, I am not asking you to take my word for it. I am not even asking you to take Steven and Kristina’s word for it. However, I WILL ask you to take the employers word for it. After all, that is what this whole thing is about.

In my time at the fair, I had the pleasure of speaking with a pair of knowledgeable and friendly representatives from Exponent, a PR firm in downtown Minneapolis. They told me that for them, the fair is an excellent way to begin an evaluation of prospective employees. There is only so much that you can attain from a résumé after all, and having the chance to put a name to a face, and see if someone’s personality would gel with the rest of the team is, they assured me, invaluable information.

Now, for your weekly call to action: (clears throat and takes a deep breath) GO TO THE JOB FAIRS!!! Because, if you are looking for work within the next…oh I don’t know…50 years, than it is simply the smart thing to do.

Did You Know About This?!

FACT: The University of Minnesota is extremely large. FACT: there is no possible way for you to know about everything that goes on around here. It’s just way too big. Don’t believe me? Let’s put your knowledge to the test.

Did you know for example, that there is a student group on campus whose sole purpose is to distribute free high-fives? Did you further know that the world’s first successful open-heart surgery was performed here in 1952? Did you also know that our Learning Abroad Center provides 300 programs in over 80 countries? AND, did you know that our CSE faculty members are currently developing a jet pack that is 100% fueled by laughter?

OK, perhaps the jet pack thing isn’t real, (although it should be) but my message remains the same. The U is a wonderful place of learning and fun, but sometimes even the best ideas, events, and tools can get lost in the shuffle.

After all, how could they NOT get lost? For crying out loud, we have 52,557 students, 183 undergrad majors, 4,168 faculty, 265 buildings, and 878 registered student groups. Who or what wouldn’t be lost? Unfortunately, being aware of just how massive this campus is does nothing to assist in dealing with it all.

(Deep thinking)…If only there was a way to sort through everything the U has to offer, and isolate JUST the things I’m interested in. Wait…..what is that you say? There is a way of accomplishing this? But how?

Three words: Engage Search Tool. This tool, which can be found on the Office for Student Engagement (OSE) website, looks and operates exactly like a Google search engine, (probably because they are the ones who run it). The only exception is that it will only display results relevant to the University of Minnesota. Pretty cool huh?

To give you an idea of how it works, I ran a search on one of my favorite topics: basketball. You can witness for yourself the effectiveness of the search below.



So give it a try! The U is a big place to live, but with the Engage Search Tool, you can find what you need in a matter of seconds.