C-Store worker requests SGA’s help


Photo by Alyssa Smith

C-Store employees Samantha Pleasant (left), a junior finance major, and Asia Thomas (right), a junior marketing major, bag items for customers during the night shift Tuesday. Both Pleasant and Thomas have been working at the C-Store for four semesters.

Carissa Johnson can’t go to bed before midnight, even if she wants to.

As a student worker at the C-Store, the junior health administration major wishes the store would close earlier for student workers, but she said she’s gotten so used to the late night schedule that she physically can’t fall asleep before midnight.

Fellow C-Store worker Rebecca Jennings reached out to Student Government Association for support in closing the store 30 minutes earlier than it does now.

SGA discussed the issue briefly without making any decisions at its meeting Feb. 11.

It’s Johnson’s sixth semester working for the C-Store, and she said she’s stayed because the above-minimum wage pay is good.

“I’ve seen tons of people come and go in terms of working for the C-Store,” Johnson said. “It can’t keep employees partly because of the hours. Nobody wants to work that late.”

She said she feels strongly about the issue and wrote a paper about it for her technical writing class.

“I know Cyclone Salads, Burger King and Subconnection have a rotation where some will close at 9 p.m. and the others later,” Johnson said. “In my paper, I suggested the C-Store be part of that rotation.”

She said she never brought it up to management because she wasn’t sure if her input would matter.

Jennings said she hoped to be able to present the issue to Sodexo more powerfully if she had the backing of student government.

The sophomore nursing major suggested the C-Store close at 11 p.m. rather than 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Jennings’ classes typically end at 1 p.m., and two or three hours later, she clocks in at the C-Store.

She works 8 to 9 hours, and even though the C-Store closes at 11:30 p.m., she and the other employees have to spend an extra hour working.

Jennings gets back to her on-campus apartment by 12:30 a.m. After taking a shower, she gets about 5.5 to 6 hours of sleep before her 8 a.m. classes.

While Jennings said she can function on that amount of sleep, she sees other workers struggle with a lack of rest.

Jennings said 30 minutes may be little, but she thinks it could make a great difference for working students.

“It would (give) time for students who have to get up early for the next day,” she said. “It would be beneficial, and it wouldn’t be like we’re closing super early, just a half-hour.”

Jennings said she talked to her boss and clarified she loves her job and wasn’t attacking the C-Store.

“I just want a support system from SGA,” she said. “If I’m just a student worker to Sodexo, they’d probably just write me off. If I could get SGA’s guidance, it might mean more.”

Aaron Gottman, administrative vice president for university affairs, read the entirety of Jennings’ e-mail at the last SGA meeting.

“I think this is important and ties into what we’re trying to do in SGA,” Gottman said. “From my personal knowledge, I don’t know about a student e-mailing me about such a specific issue.”

Financial Officer Aaron McCullough said changing the C-Store hours would possibly set a complicated “precedent” in policy and force other parts of campus with student workers to close down earlier as well.

“If it’s an issue of working too late, (Jennings) needs to take it upon herself to set up her availability with work hours if it’s directly affecting her studying,” Chief Justice Jason Miner said. “There are other employment opportunities on campus that she could look to work at.”

Liberal Arts representative Natasha Awbrey said pushing for 30 minutes is not a substantial request.

“I work at the C-Store on weekends, and we’re usually out of there before we need to be out of there,” she said.

After five minutes, the general assembly voted to close discussion on the issue.

Gottman told The Shield Tuesday that he hadn’t gotten a chance to reply to Jennings’ e-mail.

He said he talked to Sodexo about the feasibility of closing the C-Store earlier, but Gottman doesn’t want to push for a change without more support.

“It’s not a big enough demographic to say a time change is required,” he said. “In the e-mail, there was nothing brought up about other workers.”

After bringing up the issue to the general assembly, Gottman said, “it went as expected.”

“It’s my job as a student representative to help out the student population as best I can,” he said. “I’ll tell (Jennings) it was SGA’s opinion that maybe we can’t pursue this until you get more information from other students.”

Gottman said a 30 minute difference in closing time isn’t too much to ask of administration to change if there is enough evidence to support student need.

“This issue is bigger than something SGA can handle,” Gottman said. “It needs to be discussed with management and coworkers.”

He said he encourages Jennings to still reach out to him if she has more concerns.

“If you need my assistance, we can set up a round table in a more formal setting, either through Food Services or a student meeting led by me,” Gottman said. “I just don’t want to take steps further until we know there’s a need.”