Job One

From waxing floors to washing dishes, about 80 percent of alumni had a campus job at some point during their time at Northwestern. While they appreciated earning money for pizza, movies or tuition, they say the real benefits were something more valuable: lessons about life, appreciation for their education, and sometimes even romance and a sense of calling.

Good to the Last Drop

If there’s one thing I learned working maintenance for three summers, it’s this: The maintenance staff is like coffee—the college cannot function without it. The people I worked with taught me about campus history and how to grease elevators and get stains out of carpets, all while joking around to make the workload seem light. If there was ever a dull moment, they would say it was my own fault. I needed to make the most of the day no matter what I was doing—something I still remember today.

Renee (Nyhof ’10) Wielenga
Sioux Center, Iowa

Squeaky Clean

I won’t name names, but I witnessed someone ride through the dishwasher in the cafeteria. Boy, did we have some fun working the dish room!

Brenda (Pool ’88) Keene
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Class Act

Doing my work-study under Dr. Dick Van Holland ’58 helped me see all that goes into teaching, and it helped me hone my organization skills. Dick impressed upon me how I need to get to know my students and invest in them by attending their athletic events and concerts. His care for students made an impact on how I treated mine during 11 years teaching high school, and it still affects me today as I teach at NWC.

Scott Bahrke ’01
Orange City, Iowa

Chapel Cupid

I performed custodial work in the chapel under the supervision of Monte Golden. He was a lot of fun, so it really didn’t seem like work at all. When Monte found out about my crush on music major Ken Ven Huizen ’90, he proceeded to subtly let Ken know. Meanwhile I began to be aware of Ken’s schedule for organ rehearsal. It was during those times that I “conveniently” had to dust in the balcony or vacuum the carpet. Thanks in part to my work-study job and Monte, Ken and I eventually got together. We will be married 22 years this June. Ken and I saw Monte after the Christmas Vespers concert this past December and introduced him to our son Jake, a freshman music major at NWC.

Karla (De Boer ’92) Ven Huizen
Sheldon, Iowa

Photo Finish

I learned many things from working as a photographer for the Beacon. Photography definitely isn’t just about taking pictures; you also need to be a people person, understand the business and write well. But the most important thing I learned was that photography was my calling.

Jenni (Sybesma ’09) Ochsner
Orange City, Iowa

Hang Ups

I was able to be a part of many fun events like Ballyhoo and Airband through my work for the AV department. It was really interesting to see what took place behind the scenes to make an event happen. Many times we would rig up a pulley system to suspend a screen from the rafters in the gym. “Don’t let go” was a common phrase.

Adam Halford ’06
Sioux Falls, S.D.

Office Mentor

I worked under Deb Wassink in the business office. It was inspiring to see someone take so much pride in her job and go the extra mile with each student and staff member. Deb also expressed concern for my life and offered words of wisdom. Through these conversations, my faith in Christ was strengthened. Deb’s example continues to affect how I treat people in my career.

Bryce Book ’09
Dakota Dunes, S.D.

Room With a View

My student supervisor at the switchboard, Bethany (Hegstad ’08) Swart, was a dear friend who would often work when I was there. Our basement office in Zwemer Hall had one little window, and watching people through it—while they were unaware—became a highlight of our time. Bethany took special joy in watching one tall, handsome guy, Tim Swart ’07. Probably thanks to the “love window,” they are now happily married and raising their sweet daughter together.

Jessi (Matson ’07) Copeland
Worthing, S.D.

Bathroom Duty

You haven’t lived until you’ve found yourself on your hands and knees in front of a urinal in Heemstra Hall scraping stained wax off the floor with a razor blade! I learned there are two kinds of jobs in this world: those you shower before and those you shower after. The latter really makes you appreciate the former. But what I remember most about working maintenance was the sense of camaraderie we shared, morning devotions, donuts at coffee break, and getting to spend my days with people I could laugh with.

Matt Austin ’05
Orange City, Iowa

Floral Tribute

I loved working the grounds crew. One time, we wrote our supervisor’s name in a flower bed with a certain color flower. I don’t think he ever noticed.

Becky (Vermeer ’99) Hiemstra
Orange City, Iowa


Working in the AV department was one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. But my least favorite part was being sent to the dark and quiet “dungeon” of Van Peursem Hall to look for some equipment. One time as I stepped out of the basement AV room and switched off the light, I turned and almost ran into Mike Stokes ’94, who was coming down to check on me. I jumped about five feet in the air and tripped backwards into a bench, knocking over a bunch of boxes. I didn’t think my heart would ever stop racing, but Mike started teasing me about being scared of the dark. I loved working for someone who was ready to joke around even when I’d made a complete fool of myself.

Michelle (Mether ’11) Bergst
Sioux Falls, S.D.

Lessons in the Caf’

I worked all four years in food service and moved up from the dish room to student manager. It was a lot of hard work but really taught me how that can get you far in this world. Thanks, Don Keith!

Ann Iversen ’93
Sunnyvale, Calif.

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