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Eric Peterson, Published October 19 2010

College sports: MSUM, Concordia student-athletes make time for jobs

Located in the middle of Alex Nemzek Hall, Ashley Gallegos finds sanctuary in the series of connected rooms that make up the equipment area.

The Minnesota State Moorhead sophomore often works nights after she finishes women’s soccer practice.

Her main job is to help do the laundry for the school’s athletic teams.

“I’m away from people,” Gallegos said amidst the buzz of the industrial size washer and dryers.

“Sometimes it’s kind of nice. … That’s why I like it because it’s really chill.”

With practices, games, classes and school work filling their schedules, time is a precious commodity for college student-athletes.

Still, some carve out the time to work jobs with the benefits ranging from extra spending cash to personal fulfillment.

The Forum shadowed three student-athletes who attend MSUM or Concordia College to tell their story and find out what their jobs entail.

For Gallegos, a biology and Spanish double major, having a job on campus is convenient. Most of the time she comes right off the practice field to her job. She is able to pick up hours during the day at times if it fits into her schedule.

“School and soccer take up a lot of my time, that’s why this job is kind of nice,” said Gallegos, whose nickname is “Cali” because she if from Fontana, Calif. “I come in just whenever they need me.”

Each athlete from every sport has a colored mesh bag with their dirty clothes from practice attached to a strap. Soccer has royal blue bags, football bags are black, volleyball bags are green and softball bags are red and black.

Each bag is labeled with a number so Gallegos can hang each bag on its corresponding spot on the metal coat racks.

“I kind of have it down now,” Gallegos said as she sorts through a red bin and hangs up the bags. “I get it done pretty fast.”

Washing and sorting through the football bags is normally the biggest job for Gallegos because of the large number.

“All 99 bags of football stuff have to be hung up and their towels have to be in the dryer,” Gallegos said. “And then we are good to go.”

Gallegos normally works two nights a week for about two hours, finishing her work around

9 p.m. Since she does her job as part of work study, she earns an hourly wage and has a capped amount she can earn each semester.

At MSUM, most work study jobs range between $7.25 and $8.50 per hour. The amount a student can earn in a semester is needs based and has different caps depending on the student’s year in school.

“I’m kind of on my own out here,” said Gallegos, who said her job has also helped her meet athletes from other MSUM teams.

“My parents help me out a lot so I try to help them out.”

John Fraase: Concordia men’s basketball

At 6 feet, 6 inches tall, John Fraase towers over everyone on the Concordia women’s soccer sidelines. On this sunny afternoon, Fraase watches the game in a black Cobbers polo shirt with his arms crossed.

“It’s weird welcoming a big 6-6 guy to a team,” said Fraase, a senior who plays for the Cobbers men’s basketball team. “I didn’t know what I was going to be like right away.”

A star on the hardwood for the Cobbers, Fraase is a volunteer student manager for the women’s soccer team this fall. He doesn’t get paid for his services, which usually entails a couple practices a week and home games.

“I’m friends with the girls and I just wanted to help out any way I can,” Fraase said.

On this day, Fraase says “Good job,” to one of the players as they are subbed out late in the game.

Moments later, a player says “Thanks John” as Fraase hands her a filled water bottle.

“He’s the greatest,” said Cobbers senior midfielder Abby Habein. “He always has water for us whenever you turn around. He’s our water boy.”

Fraase asked Cobbers women’s soccer coach Dan Weiler during last school year if he could help out with the team this fall.

“He’s a positive figure and having him around is nice,” Weiler said.

“He is there for the right reasons. He’s there to be helpful and to support the team and we are more than happy that he has been able to be with us.”

A senior, Fraase said it’s been a great experience helping out the team. At times, it’s been a challenge to fit around his preseason basketball obligations, but he feels it’s been worth the effort.

“I’m just been so happy that I did this,” he said. “Along with basketball this is going to be one of the things I remember. I’m glad Dan gave me a chance to do this.”

Fraase also respects what Weiler has to juggle.

Weiler is the head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams, both of which are likely to make the MIAC playoffs this fall.

“I wanted to make his job easier,” Fraase said. “Coaching two teams at once? How tough is that?”

While Fraase could try to work a job that earns him an hourly wage for extra spending money, he feels what he gets from this experience means more.

“Some day I will have that stuff, but right now I just don’t worry about it,” Fraase said. “I get so much happiness out of doing this. It’s just part of the day of look forward to.”

Ashley Beseman: Concordia volleyball

Ashley Beseman flashes a welcoming smile, sitting at her desk in the basement of Fjelstad Hall on the Concordia campus.

A 6-foot-2 junior standout on the Cobbers volleyball team, she spends about 10 hours of her week trying to make college life better for other Concordia students.

“We are kind of almost like a friend on campus so they have someone to talk to,” said Beseman, who is a peer mentor.

Beseman usually works four two-hour shifts a week, working out of the school’s Office of Student Success and Retention.

“She puts the same kind of energy into assisting others through her per mentoring as she puts into her volleyball,” said Mike Reese, who is the program coordinator and also a Cobbers assistant baseball coach. “She is a quality person.”

Beseman is in her second year as a peer mentor and will likely take on a lead mentor role next semester.

Beseman said she was able to develop a group of friends quickly when she was a freshman, playing on both the volleyball and basketball teams.

“A lot of freshmen on campus aren’t involved with teams so they don’t have that core group of friends like I was lucky enough to have,” Beseman said.

Beseman helps students work through issues like time management, home sickness and roommate problems. Prior to each of the last two school years, Beseman did a week of peer mentoring training.

Beseman was assigned a group of 35 freshmen to peer mentor at the start of this school year and said she has made connections with around 10.

The program targets freshmen students, but the service is available for any student who wants help.

Beseman said being able to help incoming students is gratifying. At the start of this school year, Beseman said one female she was assigned to mentor was happy to have someone there to help.

“She said to me ‘That’s so cool that you’re here for me and I have someone,’ ” Beseman said.

A couple months later Beseman ran into that same student on campus and addressed her by name.

“She goes ‘How did you remember my name? … That really means a lot to me,’ ” Beseman said.

That is one of the perks of the job for Beseman, who gets paid an hourly wage. However, she said the money isn’t the top benefit.

“It’s nice to have a job all year, but to me it’s more of the experience,” Beseman said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com