Waco Hall faces staff shortages

Waco Hall is experiencing a shortage in staff. Illustration by Grace Everett

By Clara Snyder | Staff Writer

Yakima, Wash., junior Kaitlyn Gerard started her job at Waco Hall the first semester of her freshman year. Compared to then, Gerard said Waco Hall has barely been scraping by to have enough employees. With employees stretched thin for each event, Gerard said Waco Hall is in desperate need of more student workers.

There are three positions at Waco Hall, and all three are open to applicants: stagehand/crew member, usher and ticket office team member.

According to the Waco Hall website, the stagehand position handles technical support on all events, from lighting to audio. Common events include After Dark, All-University Sing, Pigskin Revue, Waco Symphony Orchestra and Chapel.

The second available position is ushering, which involves setting up the lobby prior to events and welcoming guests. The Waco Hall website also said it “helps ensure that patrons are following the policies of the facility and the event.”

The final available position is working in the ticket office. According to the Waco Hall website, this job deals with collecting and distributing online and hard copy tickets for campus partner events and student activities.

Since the positions offered at Waco Hall are part-time jobs, Gerard said a lot of students do their work-study at the hall. She said the hours are flexible to accommodate student schedules, and although employees are required to work 12 events a semester, they have the freedom to choose which events to work.

“I’m a junior now, and I started right at the beginning of my freshman year,” Gerard said. “[At the start], I worked only eight hours a week, but now that I’m more solidified in the job and I love it so much, I work more.”

After two and a half years at the job, Gerard said her experience working at Waco Hall has been her favorite thing she has participated in at Baylor. She said she still looks forward to showing up for work and has met amazing people while picking up skills.

“It was a completely random thing I did,” Gerard said. “I just needed a job, and I applied for every single work-study job on the website. They interviewed me, I got the job, and I said to myself, ‘I’ll give it a semester, and if I hate it, I’ll quit.’ But I loved it.”

Gerard said her bosses are some of the most kind, funny and hardworking people she has ever met. She said the bosses genuinely care about their employees and want all their staff to succeed.

“They are so open for questions,” Gerard said. “They tell us, ‘If you are confused about anything you’re doing, come into the office and I’ll sit down and teach you.'”

“The atmosphere we are wanting to create is one of professionalism, creativity and to give students an opportunity to lead a group of their peers,” Joshua Gilliam, associate director of student activities and Waco Hall director, said.

Gerard said the job offers real-life experience and soft skills that can help any student in their future career. She said it taught her how to mix live sound and run a soundboard — something she can now do at her church. Gilliam said the experience available at Waco Hall is intended to be useful for future endeavors.

“Working at Waco Hall will help students gain exposure from a variety of events, from theater, orchestra, lectures and concerts, as well as learning transferable skills that they will use in the workforce once they graduate,” Gilliam said.

Gerard said the friendships and community that are cultivated among the Waco Hall staff have added to her desire to stick around as an employee. She said she has been working with and growing alongside the same staff members since her freshman year.

“People quit rarely, unless it’s due to scheduling conflict or an internship,” Gerard said. “For the most part, people stick around because the job is genuinely really fun. Even if we are doing something so boring like sweeping the floor, we’re goofing around, and there’s always this lighthearted, fun environment.”

As the only business major on staff, Gerard said students can gain invaluable experience and skills regardless of their major. Although many of the employees are film majors, she said she does not feel that her major has hindered her from learning and enjoying her job.

“I worked at Magnolia last year too,” Gerard said. “I had two jobs because I wasn’t making enough money because of COVID-19, but I quit that job this year so I could spend more time working at Waco Hall because of how much I enjoy it.”

Gilliam encouraged students to apply if they have a desire to work within a team in a fun environment, to learn new things and to be involved in the Waco/Baylor community.

If you are interested in applying to work at Waco Hall, you can access the application at the student employment section of its website. Regular updates involving activities hosted by Waco Hall can also be found on the Waco Hall Instagram.