Tarna Zander-Velloso

Yale has created a new award to highlight the achievements of students employed on campus, Yale College Dean Marvin Chun announced in a Wednesday email to Yale College faculty and staff.

The award, officially titled the Y-Work Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student Employees, or “Y-Work,” will be presented every year to a “handful of current undergraduates whose dedication to their on-campus job has had a positive impact on the community through one of Yale’s departments, offices, labs, libraries, museums, residential colleges, or other part of campus,” Chun wrote in the announcement.

The award was created by the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid.

“Dean Chun and I both feel like it is important to initiate this award in his first year as dean of Yale College in order to highlight on-campus work opportunities that allow students to acquire and apply new skills, improve post-graduate job-readiness and enhance the Yale community, and to acknowledge the many critical contributions that student employees make to departments, offices, labs, libraries, museums, residential colleges and more around Yale’s campus,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan.

All current undergraduates with term-time work experience are eligible for the award, which students can receive if nominated by their supervisors. The nomination forms, due this year on March 9, ask the supervisors to both provide basic information about the student’s responsibilities and to write two short statements, 150 to 300 words each.

Supervisors are expected to highlight examples of the nominees’ notable personal characteristics — such as commitment, reliability and professionalism — in one statement, and to provide examples of the nominee’s initiative, innovation or impact in the other.   

A committee comprising representatives from the offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid, Career Strategy, Student Financial Services, Public Affairs & Communications and Internal Affairs will select the winners and announce their decisions in April. The recipients will receive a yet-to-be-determined prize, according to Director of Recruitment Hannah Mendlowitz ’12.

“Student employees help shape Yale through their work across the entire campus,” said Heather Abati, director of student administrative services and a member of the Y-Work committee. “This award aims to bring some of this hard work to light and to acknowledge the often critical work that students engage with outside of the classroom at Yale.”

According to the Student Employment Office, in the 2016–17 academic year, more than 3,000 undergraduates held at least one campus job — representing 59 percent of the overall undergraduate population — and together received a total of $5.6 million in wages. Students worked in more than 400 different university offices and departments for an average of four hours per week and filled more than 6,000 job openings.

Some students work on campus in order to satisfy the student effort portion of the financial aid packages — a sum that students pay to cover indirect expenses, often using savings from a student job. Over the years, many students have opposed the student effort payment, complaining that it effectively forces low-income students to take on time-consuming jobs.

Last week, Students Unite Now — which campaigns for the elimination of the student effort — rallied outside Sterling-Sheffield-Strathcona Hall, calling for a meeting with Chun.

Student minimum wage at Yale for the 2017–18 school year is $12.50.

Anastasiia Posnova | anastasiia.posnova@yale.edu