Students in search of a summer job, a few extra bucks or just something fulfilling to do with their time flocked to the Student Employment Job Fair in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom yesterday.
The fair, hosted by the Portland State University Career Center, featured representatives from 40 businesses and non-profit organizations, a rise from 28 last year.
Students meandered between brightly-colored kiosks touting each company’s advantages and perused tables of printed pages of job listings.
Melanie Everett, who teaches yoga at PSU and at studios around the city, was among the students taking a look at what the fair had to offer. Everett came looking for a job to provide supplementary income to offset expenses from a recent trip to Italy, but was disappointed at the selection the fair had to offer.
“I’m just exploring my options,” she said. “I don’t think there’s much here that you can’t find online or seek out yourself.”
Many students, however, were just happy to have the convenience of having so many employers in one place.
“I thought about coming here to look for an easy job,” Vinh Ho said, while methodically filling out an application for a part-time job at Costco, Inc. “It’s a lot easier than going to different places.”
“At first I thought it was just a joke, but I came up here and there were all these companies looking for people,” he added.
In addition to the big corporations like Costco, UPS, FedEx and Walgreens, several political and social activism groups came to the fair to recruit for summer internships, including Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., which had gathered a long list of students interested in their “Jobs to beat Bush,” and Community Language Culture Bank, a multi-cultural activism group, which interested enough students that it ran out of applications.
Despite being labeled as a job fair, many of the representatives that attended were actually from companies offering unpaid internships, which disappointed some students who came looking for paying summer work.
“A lot of people turn away when they find out it’s unpaid,” said Ed Yoon of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, an environmental activism group offering summer internships throughout the state.
The Career Center hosted a table promoting their job search Web site, occupied by center representatives providing demonstrations of how to use the site’s search tools to connect with employers.
The Careers Web site, http://www.career.pdx.edu, has amassed a database of more than 5,000 employers, according to Career Center representative Rosemary West, and has many customizable search options to help connect students with jobs in fields they are interested in.