Student staffing shortages affect campus

Low staff numbers leave student workers shouldering more responsibility.

Chloe Kucera, News Reporter

For the past few years, Hamline has been experiencing student worker shortages, inhibiting work and causing strain in offices across campus. Current student workers feel this the most. 

I think worker shortages aren’t just affecting my job, but everyone on campus, including staffing,” sophomore and Hamline Starbucks employee Nykole Thomas wrote in an email. “It’s just putting more work and hours on the few workers we do have working. I’m not one to complain about more hours really, but it would be nice to get more people so we can all catch a little breather.”

Deb Ahlquist, Hamline Experience coordinator at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has noticed something similar in the students she supervises. 

“The students who are working feel that…there aren’t as many students working as usual, so it makes the job a little bit more stressful when they know that we are short staffed.”

The worker shortage also impacts how these jobs are being run.

“It affects us a lot. Especially our hours. They are constantly fluctuating because sometimes people are late…or people have to call out because of different scheduling conflicts,” junior Taylor Atkins, a student manager at the Starbucks on campus said.

Understaffing is a reason why Piper Grill, Hamline’s late night eatery located in Anderson, is closed this semester.

“There’s just not [enough] people to work there. It’s really stressful and it’s open so late [which] is time that you’re not able to go home and do your homework,” Atkins said.

Some jobs on campus are more laid back while others are more fast paced. Students who work for the Starbucks have to manage the high demand for caffeinated beverages.

 “The people who work at the front desk get paid to do their homework, which is totally awesome. We need those front desk workers. It’s really important, but I don’t understand why they’re getting paid the same amount as people working in dining services,” Atkins said. ”Working in the C-Store and up in the Bistro, you are constantly moving, constantly doing stuff, you don’t really get downtime.”

One concern is that students don’t know where to find on campus jobs. Students can find jobs on campus through Handshake, an application that Hamline uses for job postings. 

Students have found that not all work-study positions are posted there.

“I’m pretty new myself… but I’m not sure how [students] find their jobs,” Ahlquist said. “We’ve had students apply through Handshake, we’ve had some that applied…through a social media post for our office.” 

At the campus Starbucks, there isn’t always an easy way to apply for a position. 

“I have a ton of people come up to me and be like, ‘hey, where do I get an application?’ I don’t even know,” Atkins said, “Sometimes we have applications and sometimes we don’t.” 

In years prior there has been a job fair for students to find these work study positions. Hamline  has not had a fair since 2019. 


“I was hoping there would be a job fair this year to be able to talk to a lot of people about working in our office and other places could do that as well and that didn’t happen this year,” Ahlquist said. 

With this constant stress of being understaffed, workers like Atkins ask for mindfulness. 

“People don’t realize that we are students,” Atkins said. “We are not just workers…my whole life does not revolve around Starbucks even though I’m there all the time. I go home. I’m in classes and I’m constantly doing other things as well.”