All Hail: Equal hours needed for co-op students

Around noon last Sunday I made my way to Stetson East for brunch, as I usually do on weekends. I waited in line and when the time came to hand my Husky Card to the dining hall attendant, I did so eagerly. After three vigorous, failed swipes, the woman gave me an extremely angry look and barked, ‘You need to get a new card!’

Thank you, ma’am. And when do you suggest I do this?

While Northeastern is known for its famous and widely effective co-op program, the administration does not cater to the needs of students working a 40-hour week. Important offices are closed on the weekends, as professors and advisers are out of the office. Although we may not be attending classes, students on co-op are nevertheless students, and should be entitled to equal access to all the university offers to students enrolled in classes.

Hayden Hall (where I would gladly go to get a new card, were it open when I wasn’t at work) operates Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On weekends – the only available time many co-op students have – the office is closed. Convenient, right? Were I in need of access to an official copy of my academic transcripts and needed to talk with someone in person, I’d be out of luck as well.

General student adviser hours also present a problem for co-op students. While co-op students are recognized by their employers as regular employees with the same responsibilities and entitlements as other full-time workers on the payroll, all co-ops (well, most) eventually must enroll back into classes for the subsequent semester. We’re still students, and we still need to meet with our academic advisers.

Academics are the reason we’re at college in the first place, yet my adviser is only in her office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. As I leave for work at 7:30 a.m. and start my long trip home around 5 p.m., there’s no chance of booking an appointment to talk about my future academic plans.

Yes, e-mails and phone calls are helpful when trying to get in touch with administrators. But it is not the same thing as meeting them in person and going over your degree audit together. Also, finding the time at work to step out and make a call may annoy your boss and co-workers.

Students on co-op may also feel disconnected from the university. As we are no longer entitled to the Student Activities Period, we may miss certain events we helped collaborate or desire to attend.

It is unrealistic to think students on co-op do not need access to the same offices or administrators as students enrolled in classes. If Northeastern is going to continue promoting and praising co-op, the need for more weekend services for students working full-time is crucial.

Also, it’s important to notice that University Health & Counseling Services close by 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So you’ll have to wait until Tuesday or Thursday night, or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to do something about that fever of yours or the weird rash on your arm.

With all these timing roadblocks, I think it’s safe to say one thing: Sorry ma’am, but I think you’re going to have to swipe my card a few more times before I get a new one.

– Erin Kelly is a sophomore journalism major and member of The News staff.

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