Posted January 17, 2013 by Elizabeth Beltramini 

Start Planning to Recognize Your Student Employees

National Student Employment Week will be here before you know it—April 7–13. Have you started making plans for celebrating your employees? Here are some ideas:

  1. Present your Student Employee of the Year Award
  2. Host your annual awards ceremony or bestow mock awards during this timeframe
  3. Give student employees thank-you notes signed by professional staff members
  4. Ask professors for five minutes for student employee ambassadors to talk about the benefits of student employment before class begins
  5. Write letters to the editor of the campus and community newspapers sharing how important student employees are to the organization’s success
  6. Have supervisors post student employee accolades to a central location such as a bulletin board or the union’s Facebook wall
  7. Empower student employees to facilitate a training or teambuilding activity during a weekly staff meeting
  8. Hold a timed trivia contest with prizes and base the questions on tasks for which student employees are responsible
  9. Give student employees a rose in “Recognition Of Superior Effort”
  10. Ask professional staff members to mention National Student Employment Week as part of their voice mail message during the days preceding and actual week
  11. Recognize a specific staff or student on each day of the week, sharing via blogs, table tents, or e-mail how that group or individual contributes to the organization’s success and what unique characteristics make them fun
  12. Give student employees each a plastic egg filled with candy for being “a good egg”
  13. Reserve primo seating for student employees at an event the programming board is hosting
  14. Liaise with campus media to encourage coverage of the student employment program or profiles of specific student employees
  15. Take a group photo of your student employees to hang in a prominent location
  16. Give them a permanent marker with a note that says "You've made a lasting and permanent contribution"
  17. Host an informational job fair advertising positions available during the next term
  18. For student employees who work in offices, allow them to choose what music is played that week
  19. Show a slideshow on a wall in the main entrance; use photos featuring student employees on the job
  20. Give your best employees the opportunity to pick their work shifts for the week
  21. Ask students to share via blog or in person their weirdest experience as an employee
  22. Praise student employees in public, not just personally
  23. Designate a time during the week when every professional staff member in the building will pause what they’re doing to applaud students; publicize it so that building visitors join in
  24. Give them a compact fluorescent light bulb with a note that says “You brighten our day!”
  25. Work with dining services to have student employees’ favorite foods on special that week or have a special meal prepared for the student staff
  26. Arrange for a senior administrator to shadow one of your student employees during the week
  27. Cut top hats out of paper and award them to student employees who deserve a “tip of the hat.”
  28. Plant a tree to commemorate the year’s student employees
  29. Give them a “warm fuzzy” (a cotton ball with a note saying something you like about them)
  30. Identify fun events already happening on campus that week and invite student employees to go as a group
  31. Create a thank-you line during which administrators and professional staff shake hands with each student employee
  32. Hang a banner in a prominent location that invites union visitors to thank the student employees with whom they interact
  33. Cut out a tracing of your hand and write a note to them on it giving a “pat on the back” for their contributions
  34. Encourage each professional staff member to mention National Student Employment Week at least 10 times per weekday
  35. Make up a poem or rewrite the words to a song so that it features student employees in some way
  36. On building incident reports for the week, also denote incidents of exemplary service by student employees
  37. Place an ad in the student newspaper featuring the names of all the student employees
  38. Given them a package of coffee with a note that says “You perk up our organization!”
  39. Host a career development workshop series for student employees
  40. Make sure National Student Employment Week is on the campus-wide calendar
  41. Get a canvas and have each student employee contribute to a final work of art that can be hung in the student center
  42. Conduct a survey to identify ways students’ employment experience might be improved in the future
  43. Given them a Kudos granola bar
  44. Use the prominence of the week to launch an assessment project of student employees’ on-the-job learning
  45. Mail letters to exemplary students’ families, letting them know how the employee has positively affected the office
  46. Decorate a display case with student employee photos and words symbolizing some of their learning outcomes
  47. Give the student a “Friendship Plant”; a cutting from an office plant in a small pot decorated to show your appreciation. This way the student will always have a “live” connection to their student employment experience.
  48. Host a town hall meeting or meal with a senior administrator as a time for student employees to share ideas and voice concerns
  49. Invite a former student employee to campus to share what he or she has achieved since graduating
  50. Encourage student employee supervisors to gather at some point during the week to share best practices
  51. Give them money (scholarships, gift certificates, or prizes)!

Texas A&M University, University of Montana, Wright State University, Ball State University, University of Liverpool, and the University of Wisconsin–Stout contributed to this list.

Elizabeth Beltramini

Elizabeth Beltramini is the Director of Content Curation at ACUI.


Lots of great ways to show our appreciation to our student employees! Thanks for sharing Liz!
Comment posted 01/18/2013 9:15 AM
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