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Saturday, October 16, 2021

How to have fun and get paid on campus

If your bank account is empty and you’re sitting at home on a Saturday night, it just might be time to find a job. “But where?” you might wonder. Look no further than your very own university – there are a plethora of employers and jobs on campus.

Intramural (IM) sports offer several types of positions for undergraduate students, even to students not involved in IM sports including referee, supervisor, student manager and score recorders.

IM officials for each sport are hired at the beginning of every quarter. Do not worry if you are not an expert in any of the IM sports because they provide comprehensive training, said Monica Adams, an IM student manager.

“You don’t have to worry about knowing the sport, you’re going to learn all the rules here,” said the senior international relations and economics double major.

Students interested in being a referee can apply at the IM Sports Administrative Office, located in room 232 of the Activities and Recreation Center. Applicants must attend a rules clinic for a given sport and then officiate scrimmages for several hours over two days in order to be hired.

“It is essentially a 10-hour interview,” said Kyle Urban, a junior student manager, in an e-mail interview. “If we feel like [the applicant] would be an adequate official, they are hired and start the following weekend.”

Kyle Nunes, a senior civil engineering major who has being officiating for three years, said confidence is the most important skill for aspiring referees.

“Be confident in what you’re doing out there, even if it’s not the right call,” he said. “The louder you are and the more confidence you have, the more respect you’ll get from the participants.”

Referees officiate anywhere from five to 15 hours a week from Sunday to Thursday. Wages start at $9 an hour.

IM sports hires about 200 referees every year, which provides a good opportunity to meet people, Adams said.

“It’s the best job ever,” she said. “You get to meet a lot of really cool people. We get to see all walks of life staying involved in sports and we put on a program that people really enjoy and look forward to. It’s really rewarding and a lot of fun.”

It is not all fun and games though, Nunes said.

“The worst part is when people start arguing with you about calls and they won’t stop complaining. You just have to tell the captain they’re going to hurt their teams standing if they don’t stop,” he said. There is also opportunity for advancement after being hired as a referee. Students can apply to become supervisors and then student managers. These leadership roles require more responsibility and more of a time commitment, Adams said.

“As you get higher up, you really have to focus on time management. It can be a bit stressful if you don’t have your life together,” she said.

If sports aren’t your thing, try your hand at giving campus tours through the UC Davis Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, located across the street from the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Campus ambassadors, or tour guides, lead visitors on a two-mile, one and a half hour stroll through campus, while walking backwards.

“We look for people that love UC Davis and have a desire to share that with other people,” said Austin Silva, an administrative specialist who hires all tour guides and is a UC Davis tour guide alumnus.

“[Good tour guides] don’t have a problem speaking in front of large crowds, usually have some sort of public speaking experience and are involved with a lot of things on campus that they can speak about on tours,” he said.

New guides have a month to learn the tour script after which they are tested and start guiding tours.

Ashley Foster, a senior sociology major, first applied to be a tour guide after hearing about the job opportunity from a friend. She was hired in March of 2009 and was promoted to reservation specialist several months later.

“As a reservation specialist, I’m the first face visitors see at the visitor center,” she said. “I let them know Davis is a great place.”

Foster has some advice for those interested in applying to be a tour guide.

“Be really friendly, but not in a fake way. Be genuinely friendly.” she said. “If you’re not a social person, this isn’t the job for you – you’re constantly in front of a crowd.”

Alberto Davalos, a sophomore animal science major, has been giving tours since his freshman year.

“I lived in the dorms last year and they’d always pass by my window,” he said. “I thought ‘I can do that’ and I applied and got it.”

He said prospective tour guides should be talkative and loud with a lot of Davis spirit. Both Davalos and Foster agreed that walking backwards is an often overlooked but important tour guide skill.

Foster said the less glamorous aspects of the job are cankerous visitors.

“But that’s overshadowed by all the wonderful people you meet,” she said.

Davalos said his least favorite part of the job has nothing to do with people.

“Giving tours in the rain is the worst,” Davalos said.

Silva, Foster and Davalos all said that one of the best aspects of the job is the flexibility. Because of the large staff, students can work whenever and however much they desire to work. Some students work two hours a week while some work up to 15.

Tour guides are hired on a need-basis with typically about 60 guides on staff each year. Guides get paid $8 per hour and reservation specialists earn $9. More information about employment is available at the Alumni and Visitor Center on campus.

KELLY KRAG-ARNOLD can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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