Organization encourages students to seek government jobs

Call to Serve, an organization that encourages students to pursue careers in the federal government, kicked off an initiative at GW last week in an effort to revamp the way federal jobs are marketed to college students.

GW is one of six pilot schools selected to test the organization’s new publicity venture. Caroline Chang, program manager of Call to Serve, said GW was a top-choice school to run the pilot program because of its politically oriented student body and urban location.

“We want to focus on a handful of college campuses in order to be more strategic in coming years,” Chang said. “GW students are a good representation of an urban school that has a higher level of awareness of government to begin with. (The University) is located in proximity to a large number of federal jobs.”

Call to Serve was created in 2002 by the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management and the Partnership for Public Service. More than 550 colleges and 60 government agencies have joined this program to attract students to federal jobs. In the past, Call to Serve sent newsletters, held conferences and worked with campus career centers, but Chang said the organization is looking to become more heavily integrated within institutions by working with various student organization and academic advisors at each pilot school.

Chang said Call to Serve tries to dispel negative perceptions that often surround civil service work.

“There tends to be a lot of negative stereotypes associated with federal government jobs,” she said. “The media portrays it as a bureaucracy, and there isn’t the same enthusiasm as seen in the (John F.) Kennedy era.”

The organization is also running test programs at Clark Atlanta University, Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, Stanford University and the University of New Mexico.

Peter Konwerski, executive director of administrative partnerships, said the University is happy to participate in the pilot program.

“A goal is to have students understand that there is a variety of occupations out there,” he said.

Some students said they welcome the opportunity to learn about the job opportunities, while others said they had no interest in working for the government.

“I am hoping to get a government job upon graduating, so this is a resource I am planning on using,” junior Meredith Ballou said. “Government jobs have good benefits, and it may not be the best salary, but it is definitely a good resume item.”

But Call to Serve is a tough sell for other students.

“I wouldn’t want to work for the government,” junior Erin Mavian said. “My interests lie elsewhere, and, to tell the truth, I would want to make some money.”

So far, Call to Serve has already held two events on campus: an information session about the U.S. Census Bureau and a meeting with GW alumnus and National Aeronautic and Space Administration astronaut Charlie Camarda. Call to Serve has also placed advertisements in The Hatchet and conducted surveys at GW to gauge federal job opportunity awareness.

The group plans on hosting representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Department of Defense and other government organizations on campus.

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