Wal-mart provides SDSU students with practical experience while going to school

Caroline Knutson

Caroline Knutson

No matter what you prefer to call it, Wal-Mart, Wally World, the store of perpetual browsing, it’s certain that the Brookings Wal-Mart is by far one of the most vital necessities to the South Dakota State student.

Wal-Mart, among Hy-Vee and the university, is one of the top student employee businesses in Brookings. They employ, on average, anywhere between sixty and seventy SDSU students every year.

“Students vary between part-time and full-time,” says Dennis Tramp, Wal-Mart store manager. “Typically our student employees work roughly twenty hours a week.”

Tramp sees employing SDSU students as a valuable asset to his business. They’re great listeners, hard workers and now with the record attendance, plentiful.

“The students bring maturity, tons of energy, and creative new ideas,” says Jackie Weiss, Wal-Mart personnel manager. “They’re great with the customers.”

Isaiah Wadell, a third year, history education major, has been working at Wal-Mart for over half a year as a stockman, or in other words, the guy with the brawns.

“I like my job because it always keeps me busy, I always have something to do, like carry out or stock shelves.”

Wadell joined the Wal-Mart team because he saw it as a reliable job.

“I applied because I knew it wouldn’t just last for the summer. With the rumors of a new Wal-Mart Superstore, I saw room for expansion.”

Tabitha Docktor, a second year apparel merchandising major, chose to apply at Wal-Mart just over a year ago because she wanted experience in her field. As a sales floor associate, she is responsible for a particular department, which requires her to make sure shelves are fully stocked, put away returns and handle customer questions.

“My job has helped me further my knowledge about clothing design, the types of materials used and the way items are constructed.”

She also says that a job has improved her time management and has required her to keep her priorities straight.

Christopher Larson, also applied at Wal-Mart for the benefits of his major. A senior business economics major, Larson holds the title of Support Manager, or as he likes to describe it, “I’m the assistant to the assistant managers.”

He began his career at Wal-Mart two and a half years ago and is now currently working full-time.

“My position has allowed for a lot of management experience. I plan to continue working here and hopefully be promoted as an assistant manager, which will permit a larger leadership role.”

In a shopping center so sizeable, employees are bound to run into odd situations, nearly all of which they deemed most likely inappropriate for this article, however, a few common day-to-day occurrences never seem to grow old.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people can’t find their cars,” says Wadell. “They will just stand there bewildered or wander around the parking lot while I trail behind with a TV in my arms.”

Docktor has been surprised many times by little children who hide in the racks of clothing and then jump out when she walks by.

All of the students agreed that the best part of their job was the chance to meet new people and how well their co-workers work together.

“All of the employees, from college-age to the older folks, make the experience worthwhile,” says Docktor.