Story by Kathryn Kriss
For many students that don’t have a car, getting a job on campus is their only option. Some of the most popular positions typically held by students are working in the admissions office, at the fitness centers and event staff for sports events. However, some students seeking a change of scenery without staying far from campus have begun embracing the opportunities of the businesses immediately surrounded Drake.
The Drake community, known as Dogtown, plays host to a variety of restaurants and little shops. For many, it’s the only commercial area that can be reached without a car, so China Place, Mars Café and Planet Sub have become staples in eating off campus.
Senior Laura Sigal is sad to be giving up her job for the last year at Planet Sub. She really wanted a job close to campus, since she didn’t own a car, but wanted more hours than campus jobs usually let you have. Her sophomore year, Sigal worked at a nearby café until it closed, then Campus Cleaners on University and 34th Street.
Right now, she’s averaging about 25 hours a week, but says it’s easy to manage because it’s so flexible.
“The owner, Barb, is a Drake alum, so she loves to hire Drake students, and really understands that school comes first,” Siegel said.
One of the positives of working in a location so close to school is that the alum that move back choose to hire Drake students, and they understand the juggle between work and school.
Sophomore student Margaret Moburg, also doesn’t have a car but wanted someplace she could walk to. After getting only three hours of work a week at her previous residence hall front desk job, she decided to move off campus for a better schedule. She’s been at the Drake Diner for the last six months after hearing about the open position and being referred by another student. Moburg also loves the network of students that keep the business thriving.
“I always see people I know at the diner, it breaks up my shift because I get to chat with friends,” she said.
Sophomore Libby Bond originally decided to quit her on-campus job because the pay just wasn’t cutting it.
“When I first came to Drake, I worked on campus as an intramural official, but working for minimum wage was not cutting it,” she said
About a year-and-a-half ago, she left intramurals and applied to Jethro’s but they had just opened their new location in Waukee and desperately needed servers there. Bond says that the Waukee location is only 15 minutes from Drake, and while it’s not within walking distance, the short drive has never been a problem for her. She thinks that working off campus, or in the Dogtown area, “is a great experience for Drake students, especially as a server at Jethro’s or Drake Diner, because a lot more money can be made there.”
On-campus jobs are extremely easy to apply and get hired for, but the hours aren’t always generous and the pay isn’t always great. Off-campus jobs, like in West Des Moines or downtown, offer real world experience but are difficult to get to without a car. Employment in the Drake community seems to be the perfect combination for students looking to get away from their dorms, while staying close enough to walk to work. Dogtown will continue to be a hotspot for student as both patrons and employees.