Patrick Rochelle: Give the career fair wider appeal for humanities

Last Wednesday, GW welcomed more than 80 different employers and companies to campus to give students a chance to meet recruiters at the biannual Career and Internship Fair in the Marvin Center.

But after scanning the list of businesses attending this year’s fair, I realized there were very few companies where I could apply. Students interested in humanities careers were left wanting, despite being members of the biggest school in the undergraduate community.

For next year’s fair, the University should bring a more diverse group of employers and companies to campus.

Of course, the career fair was fruitful for students in the GW School of Business and the Elliott School of International Affairs, since the event is usually swarming with recruiters from consulting firms and government agencies.

But GW has humanities students, too, and they deserve face time with prospective employers.

Just take a look at some of the names of companies that attended the fair last week. Siemens, The Department of Commerce, Prudential Financial, MassMutual Financial Group and ING Financial Partners were prominently-featured visitors. But where was the booth for an organization like the National Endowment for the Humanities? The Smithsonian Institution? What about the Folger Shakespeare Library?

As a result, students like myself are left to their own devices and are forced to frantically scour the Internet to try to find positions for the summer.

The University could go about remedying this problem by offering a career fair devoted solely to humanities students and students interested in humanities-based careers. As it stands today, students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science benefit from the Engineering and IT Expo, and business students benefit from the GW School of Business Career Fair. Why doesn’t the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences have its own career fair?

The office of on-campus recruiting should make it a priority to connect all students to careers after college; there is more out there than financial consulting.

This situation is particularly disappointing because campus leaders have promised action in the past yet it has never been delivered. For example, as part of his platform in 2011, Student Association President John Richardson said he would improve on-campus recruiting by giving students – particularly those in the humanities – more opportunities to meet with employers. And while it was a noble idea, this year’s career fair indicates that little progress has been made.

Many students come to college so they can get a better job afterwards. As cliché as it sounds, a college education is an investment – one that you pay for in hopes that you’ll receive something better in return. But without an adequate career fair – and a strong on-campus recruiting program for all students – many are left to figure out their summer and post-college plans alone. This has to change.

Patrick Rochelle a junior majoring in English, is a Hatchet columnist.

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