University Increases Minimum Wage for Student Employees

Lydia McFarlane, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, the University community received an email from University President Rev. Peter M. Donahue, OSA, PhD containing updates for the new semester. One highlight from this email was the student employee minimum wage and anniversary increase. 

“I am pleased to share that the student employee minimum wage has increased to $10 per hour effective Monday, Jan. 3,” the email said. 

Every student employee that previously was paid less than $10 will now be bumped to a $10 hourly wage. The Pennsylvania state minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which was the standard the University had previously been using as a benchmark regarding hourly wages for  student employees. Student workers have expressed excitement regarding this pay jump for their on campus, university sponsored jobs. Many students get on-campus jobs to help shoulder the burden of costs not covered by tuition and room and board, such as laundry and books for classes, as well as to have disposable income to spend on weekends or for trips to nearby Philadelphia. 

Sophomore Lindsay Redditt is a student worker, as well as a member of SGA on campus. 

“As a student worker, I’m so excited because it will make such a significant outcome on my paycheck,” she said. “As someone who has to pay for their own things and can’t depend a lot on my parents for things I need on campus it helps with that, especially when doing laundry.” 

With a several dollar pay jump, student paychecks are sure to reflect this change in policy. A group of students within SGA teamed up to increase the minimum wage on campus. The group consisted of senior Ivanica Skalko, junior Jose Garcia, senior Kyle Smith, sophomore Thomas Dessoye and senior James Dunbar. Garcia made the initial push to start the conversation regarding raising the minimum wage on campus at the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester. He and his team of fellow SGA members observed that many students wanted to or would prefer to work on campus rather than looking off campus for employment but did not see the $7.25 starting rate as worth their time or energy. Skalko shared her own experience

Personally, I’ve worked on campus as a freshman and sophomore, and the low wage was a huge factor in deciding to seek off-campus employment my junior and senior year,” she said. 

After Garcia assembled his team of fellow SGA members for this endeavor, they went through a few months of work to push this pay raise through. They met with various offices and administrators on campus, including Kathy Byrnes, the Vice President for Student Life. Around October, the team met with HR, which helped them to make significant process. In December, they received an email directly from Father Peter himself saying that the change would be implemented in Jan. of 2022, which was sooner than anyone expected.

“It was incredible to see administrators and university leadership take our suggestions and feedback seriously, and eventually turn it into actual change for students,” Skalko said. 

SGA members, student workers, and community members alike are all sharing in this success. With dedication and commitment to the wellbeing of the student body, students can make a change. 

“I’m ecstatic that students are getting paid a more livable wage and can have the convenience of holding a job on campus,” Skalko said. “It truly will change the lives of so many students.”