Students, Workers, and Leaders

As part of The Clerk’s series on student workers at Haverford, I decided to feature people who do not only study and work on campus, but also who are actively trying to change campus for the better. Among this amazing group of people, there are several affinity group co-heads, community house members, sports captains, community organizers, and many other leadership positions held during their time at Haverford. Many of these students take on unpaid labor that is rarely shown enough appreciation.  This feature is not only meant to demonstrate the leadership many student-workers take on, but also to feature their work on campus.

sw alejandro wences

Name: Alejandro Wences

Pronouns: He/Him

Class Year: 2019

Jobs You Work/have worked during your time at Haverford: The Coop, Office of Academic Resources, Quaker Bouncers, Dining Center, Phonathon

What extracurricular activities/leadership roles you’ve done while at Haverford: Quaker Bouncers Treasurer, Ford’s Firsts Co-Head, Existence as Resistance, Multicultural Recruitment Intern, SURGE, Customs Person Committee.

What have you found most rewarding about being a student worker and a leader on campus?

The most rewarding part is that I get to meet so many great people who contribute a lot to this campus. Everyone in this feature are individuals who I have interacted with at some level and can testify that they simply inspire me every day to do better and to do more. Then there is the staff that I get to work with who are such beautiful human beings, always willing to try to make you feel welcomed and supported while on the job. My heart glows when I see them.

 

sw karen mondaca

Name: Karen Mondaca

Pronouns: she/her

Class Year: 2018

Jobs You Work/have worked during your time at Haverford: Coop senior manager, Lunt manager, mail center, information desk, conferences and events special projects manager, registrar proctor, mentor for Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America, and digital services

Extracurricular Activities/Leadership Roles you’ve done while at Haverford: Co-Captain of the rugby team, fundraiser for the rugby team, Existence As Resistance, Speakers Committee and fundraiser head, ALAS Committee, Varsity Track, WOC, BSL, BCC-allyship workshops, Mentor for Philly, Spectrum, Bloomberg Anthropologies, LEDA committee, MSP

What has been the most difficult part of being a student worker and a leader on campus?

The most difficult part about being a student worker is being treated like some second-class citizen on this campus. Serving jobs are not seen as valuable. I can see how people react to me working in food service and I get weird looks and smirks. I’ve been talked down consistently. The flip side, I also have a lot of leadership positions and in a weird way I feel like I run a lot of this school. Somehow in the classroom, I feel like students still see me as that second-class citizen because they’ve seen me working at the Coop or Lunt. You can take off your uniform but you’re still not good enough because service jobs are not seen as valuable. I feel like I am constantly trying to make up for being poor by getting more leadership positions to prove to the school or to myself that I deserve to be here and to take up space.

 

Name: Alicia Lopez-Torres

Pronouns: they/them and she/her

Class Year: 2020

Jobs You Work/have worked during your time at Haverford: Phonathon, CPGC Barista and Communications Assistant

Extracurricular Activities/Leadership Roles you’ve done while at Haverford: James House Board, Bi-Co Anti-Capitalists, EHaus, Rethink Incarceration, Customs (as an AMA), WHRC Radio, student music & bands

Why do you take on these leadership roles on top of your schoolwork and jobs?

I think I take on a lot of these “leadership” roles because I have experiences that need to be shared! As someone whose family has been abused by the prison industrial complex, it is crucial that my voice is heard in a lot of the activist work that’s done at Haverford. Working at the CPGC has been hard for me in some ways, especially with micro-agressions, but I have also been able to fund a lot of the organizing work I would otherwise be doing through the CPGC. A lot of this planning and organizing I even do on the clock, so I am finally getting paid for the energy I put into this community. This is something that was crucial for me. Being a student organizer and worker requires killing two birds with one stone, pooling resources and living sustainably (in the mental health sense).

 

sw rosa urquiza

Name: Rosa Urquiza

Pronouns: She, her, hers

Class Year: 2020

What jobs do you work/have worked during your time at Haverford? Sci-Lib Student Worker, Writing Tutor, MAST Tutor

Extracurricular Activities/Leadership Roles you’ve done while at Haverford:

ALAS Dinner Coordinator, ALAS Co-Head, PAF Co-Head, Existence as Resistance

Why do you take on these leadership roles on top of your schoolwork and jobs?

It might be cheesy or idealistic to say but one of the reasons why I have taken on leadership roles on top of my school work and jobs is because I want to find ways to make change not only for myself and my experience here at Haverford but also for my peers. I engage in these roles to work towards the creation of spaces in which people can feel safe to be their multifaceted, intersectional selves unapologetically. Most importantly I put in work through these leadership roles to hopefully voice that we need more inclusivity for students who hold marginalized identities. I also just have a passion for helping others, for community organizing and community building.

 

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Name: Chris Bechen

Pronouns: They/them

Class Year: 2018

What jobs do you work/have worked during your time at Haverford?: Senior Interviewer (Admissions), Reference Assistant (Magill), Student Worker (Dining Center)

What leadership roles/extracurricular activities have you participated in during your time at Haverford?: SAGA Co-Head, QDG Co-Head, QHouse Resident, AMA, Crew (Captain for a season)

How do you balance your schoolwork, jobs, and leadership roles?

For me, I have to be really conscious of what part of my Haverford career matters to me the most personally, academically, and professionally, as well as what is possible logistically. This means being conscious of where I am at particular moments of my life. My first two years at Haverford, making enough money to live through working and getting involved in leadership and extracurricular opportunities were my main priorities. I made the conscious decision of putting less effort and time into my classes. It sucks that I had to make that decision, but it was what made me happy and gave me the most success. As I went into junior and senior years, my academic success has become more important to me, meaning I’ve needed to take steps back from my extracurricular commitments and leadership, which was necessary but hard. It’s also meant that I’ve had to shift the way I think about my income and how I live on campus. I’ve chosen to be off the meal plan the past two years, as well as doing internships through the CPGC and being extremely frugal with my stipends. This has lowered my cost of living during the school year and allowed me to work less hours a week so I can put more effort into my classes while keeping up with extracurriculars.  

So I guess it’s all just a big game of give and take in terms of what I can and can’t do. It sucks that I’ve had to miss out on some opportunities — I wish I could’ve put more time and effort into some classes and leadership positions, and I miss seeing my friends at every meal, but you do what you have to do to survive. It’s just the reality that those of us who need an income from a job in order to survive at Haverford have to make these tough decisions that other students on campus might not have to face.

 

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Name: Joseph (Joe) Spir

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Class Year: 2020

What jobs do you work/have you worked during your time at Haverford?: Spanish TA, Peer Tutor, Honor Council Co-Chair, an Anthropology TA, and as a barista at Saxbys Coffee

What extracurricular activities/leadership roles have you done during your time at Haverford?: Men’s Crew, Honor Council (Co-Chair), ALAS, and Customs (HCO, HCO Co-Head)

Why do you take on these leadership roles on top of your schoolwork and jobs?

Coming to College, I did not think that at any point during my time here I would be involved in leadership roles, given that I had had such mixed feelings doing so in High School and it had been physically, emotionally, and mentally draining, while at the same time failing to feel recognized and approved by my peers. As I started being part of different extracurricular activities, though, I also saw the imperfections of the organizations I was a part of and how I wanted to be part of the change that would make them more diverse, socially aware, and inclusive. I knew it was going to be a struggle to balance my already very time-consuming job as a barista at Saxbys, with classes, and on top of that being a leader in what I did. Nonetheless, I feel that I am representing identities that would otherwise be undermined, and I get fulfillment out of working with fellow peers in order to make proactive change within the Haverford community. People always tell me, ‘why do you take on so much? Chill, drop stuff’, but I know that I would consequently be failing my values and morals if I did, and while difficult, I find happiness and joy out of doing everything that I do.