Editorial: Career fairs should not divide the University campus

by Daily Editorial Board

When it comes to sporting events, the University of Minnesota rallies behind our maroon and gold logo and our mascot as a display of unity and inclusivity. We do this because, at the end of the day, we are members of the same institution — the University of Minnesota. Our students roam the same campus, access the same buildings and live in communities that transcend the subdivisions between the University. Our football games aren’t segregated by the subdivisions of the University we attend. The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) or the Carlson School of Management do not rally behind another mascot with different colors. Athletics isn’t even the main goal of the University — education is. This begs the question why some educational opportunities are available to some students in specific colleges but not others.

Every year, each college hosts a career fair for their respective students, as Carlson hosted one on Sept. 25. These fairs have a vast number of benefits. They provide students with exposure to potential employers and allow companies in the Twin Cities area to engage with the diverse and intelligent student body on our campus. However, many of the career fairs are only open to their respective college students. In a previous letter to the editor by an University alumna, CSE barred the individual from attending the career fair simply because they had not been a student of the college. We believe that exclusion like this is not only unfair, but it also bars students from opportunities that the University should be offering them.

Right now, each college operates like its own fiefdom. This makes sense logistically. Each college has the need for different resources, and requires unique leadership that responds to the needs of students in the particular college. However, the barriers around the colleges have become far more rigid, preventing students from discovering their interests, thereby not being able to pursue career opportunities in those fields.

We recommend the University change their career fair policy. Students, regardless of their college, should be able to attend the career fair of another college. This will have important benefits — first, this should reduce unnecessary stereotypes and inequality in the resources that students of different colleges obtain. Second, it will allow alumni who have transitioned to another field to reap the benefits of having attended the University. An alumnus who attended CSE, but now has transitioned to business should be allowed to attend Carlson’s career fair. 

Career fairs operate as a microcosm for the inequality among the various colleges. The problem with drawing such rigid lines is that it divides the campus in unproductive ways. Students should be proud of the education they receive at the University as a whole. They should identify with the University over their affiliation with sublevel communities. Working to address this at a campus level, with the first step being fixing career fair policy, will help our student body become more successful in their future pursuits.