Orientation leaders will now get paid $250 for their service beginning this summer. This will be the first time orientation leaders will be paid workers instead of volunteers.
The decision was made by Anne Ehrlich, Assistant Vice President of Student Development, in order to compensate orientation leaders for the work they do.
“They deserve it,” Ehrlich said. “It is an important job. They have deserved it all along, really, but we have not had the means to be able to pay them. We just wanted to be able to at least give them something to show that we realize what a big deal it is to be an orientation leader.”
Though the aim is to recognize the effort involved, one former orientation leader, sophomore Domanique Rahman, raised concerns that the new incentive might motivate students who would otherwise not volunteer to lead orientation.
“In a way, I think it is better when it is not paid because you get people who actually want to do it,” Rahman said. “Now that it is paid, you are going to get people who are like ‘Oh, I get to move on campus early and I get paid.’ I think it is nice that it was not paid. If you have people who are just doing it because they want to, then they will be better at it.”
Rahman became an orientation leader after his freshman year because he wanted to share his enthusiasm for Knox. He found the job demanding, but rewarding. Not only are the leaders expected to run orientation, they also train for an entire week to prepare. Each day of training is full of leadership activities and simulations for the events the freshman will participate in.
“It was actually really busy,” according to Rahman. He acknowledged that the amount of work required for the position might turn away anyone who was not committed, saying that volunteers “still have to go through the interview process” and so qualified students would still likely be chosen.
Another orientation leader, sophomore Nabiha Mansoor, raised a similar point.
“There is so much you have to do,” Mansoor said. “I feel like in the interview process it would become pretty clear that they would be in it only for the money.”
Mansoor became an orientation leader in order to help both incoming students as well as Knox. Although the amount of money is “pretty substantial,” according to Mansoor, it would not be enough to sign up just for the money. She mentioned that her and other orientation leaders would joke about working without pay, but the thought of making money never seriously crossed their minds.
Sophomore Nimay Ravi became an orientation leader primarily to help incoming students. Though he had no expectation of being paid, he believes it is a good idea.
“It was really rewarding,” Ravi said about his experience. On the decision to pay orientation leaders, he said, “There is still a process. I would not say it is really a bad thing.”