The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


On-campus jobs attract students with higher pay

Jennifer Bowes never thought she looked particularly good in stripes, let alone the black and white verticals of a referee uniform.

“I would have never guessed I’d be doing this,” the sophomore said. “But the opportunity to become an official presented itself this year and I couldn’t refuse.”

Bowes, like the other current 29 student officials, is taking advantage of the new pay raise in the SMU Intramural Program. Up $1.50 from last semester, officials’ $8.50-per-hour pay was increased to attract more students to the position this year.

“We were looking for a way to make the job more attractive, more inviting,” Intramural Director Jack Harper said.

Part of President George Bush’s amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, a nationwide minimum wage increase to $5.85 per hour went into effect this summer, with plans to reach $7.25 by July 2009.

In accordance with the amendment, most on-campus jobs now pay between $5.85 and $7 per hour, Student Employment and Scholarships Associate Director Mary Beard said.

Even after this minimum wage increase, however, officiating still sits as one of the highest paying on-campus jobs.

“Since last year, I’d been looking for an on-campus job,” Bowes said. “I don’t have a car, so it was essential that the job be within walking distance. I also love the intramural program, and it doesn’t hurt that the pay is great.”

Other advantages of the job include the flexible three to 20-hour workweeks set by students themselves, based on the sports they prefer to referee. Officials this semester can choose to work soccer, volleyball, tennis singles, racquetball, flag football and inner-tube water polo games.

Despite such a range of athletic activities, the job does not require any previous knowledge or experience with the sports. After six to seven hours of paid training, students test their skills during scrimmages and receive feedback from officiating instructors from around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

“Any official can pass a written test,” Harper said. “On-the-field experience is the best way to help students feel more comfortable with officiating.”

In addition, the job gives students the chance to travel around the region, and possibly the nation, for intramural events.

“This year we took some students to Shreveport for flag-football training,” Harper said. “We’re also going to Oklahoma State University for a flag-football tournament and Texas Christian University for a basketball tournament.”

But Harper said the most rewarding part of the position is the opportunity to learn lifelong lessons.

“Not only is this a high paying job, you get experience with conflict resolution and people skills,” Harper said. “Plus, you get to stay active and get a bit of a workout, all in an enjoyable atmosphere.”

Since the pay raise at the beginning of the semester, Harper has seen “a great increase in professionalism” among the officials, an opinion that seems to be shared by intramural participants as well.

“The officials act much more qualified this year,” sophomore intramural volleyball player Caroline McMahon said. “They know the rules and really keep the game running smoothly.”

Likewise, David Calvert, a junior intramural soccer player, said this semester’s officials are helping to improve the quality of the entire program.

“I appreciate the fact that they know what they’re doing,” Calvert said. “It’s nice to just be able to play the game and not worry if the right calls are being made.”

And with her one-day workweek officiating volleyball games, Bowes enjoys the flexibility and fun of her job.

“I work Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. I also played club volleyball in high school. So it doesn’t get much better than this,” Bowes said. “I pretty much get paid to work out.”

She did admit, though, that there was one part of the job that took a little getting used to.

“Those black and white stripes are not the most flattering,” Bowes said. “I guess that’s the trade-off for $8.50 an hour.”

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